The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa
Kisari Mohan Ganguli (Translator)

Part 9 out of 11

and gave, O king, the desired promise. From that day, O Bharata, the
Rakshasas (of the region) were seen by the inhabitants of that town to be
very peaceful towards mankind. Then Bhima, dragging the lifeless cannibal,
placed him at one of the gates of the town and went away unobserved by any
one. The kinsmen of Vaka, beholding him slain by the might of Bhima,
became frightened and fled in different directions.

"Meanwhile Bhima, having slain the Rakshasa, returned to the Brahmana's
abode and related to Yudhishthira all that had happened, in detail. The
next morning the inhabitants of the town in coming out saw the Rakshasa
lying dead on the ground, his body covered with blood. Beholding that
terrible cannibal, huge as a mountain cliff, thus mangled and lying on the
ground, the hair of the spectators stood erect. Returning to Ekachakra,
they soon gave the intelligence. Then, O king, the citizens by thousands
accompanied by their wives, young and old, all began to come to the spot
for beholding the Vaka and they were all amazed at seeing that superhuman
feat. Instantly, O monarch, they began to pray to their gods. Then they
began to calculate whose turn it had been the day before to carry food to
the Rakshasa. And ascertaining this, they all came to that Brahmana and
asked him (to satisfy their curiosity). Thus asked by them repeatedly,
that bull among Brahmanas, desirous of concealing the Pandavas, said these
words unto all the citizens, 'A certain high-souled Brahmana, skilled in
mantras, beheld me weeping with my relatives after I had been ordered to
supply the Rakshasa's food. Asking me the cause and ascertaining the
distress of the town, that first of Brahmanas gave me every assurance and
with smiles said, 'I shall carry the food for that wretched Rakshasa today.
Do not fear for me.' Saying this he conveyed the food towards the forest
of Vaka. This deed, so beneficial unto us all, hath very certainly been
done by him.'

"Then those Brahmanas and Kshatriyas (of the city), hearing this, wondered
much. And the Vaisyas and the Sudras also became exceedingly glad, and
they all established a festival in which the worship of Brahmanas was the
principal ceremony (in remembrance of this Brahmana who had relieved them
from their fears of Vaka)."


(Chaitraratha Parva)

"After this citizens returned to their respective houses and the Pandavas
continued to dwell at Ekachakra as before."

"Janamejaya said, 'O Brahmana, what did those tigers among men, the
Pandavas, do after they had slain the Rakshasa Vaka?'

"Vaisampayana said, 'The Pandavas, O king, after slaying the Rakshasa Vaka,
continued to dwell in the abode of that Brahmana, employed in the study of
the Vedas. Within a few days there came a Brahmana of rigid vows unto the
abode of their host to take up his quarters there. Their host, that bull
among Brahmanas, ever hospitable unto all guests, worshipping the newly-
arrived Brahmana with due ceremonies, gave him quarters in his own abode.
Then those bulls among men, the Pandavas, with their mother Kunti,
solicited the new lodger to narrate to them his interesting experiences.
The Brahmana spake to them of various countries and shrines and (holy)
rivers, of kings and many wonderful provinces and cities. And after this
narration was over, that Brahmana, O Janamejaya, also spoke of the
wonderful self-choice of Yajnasena's daughter, the princes of Panchala,
and of the births of Dhrishtadyumna and Sikhandi, and of the birth,
without the intervention of a woman, of Krishna (Draupadi) at the great
sacrifice of Drupada.

"Then those bulls among men, the Pandavas, hearing of these extraordinary
facts regarding that illustrious monarch (Drupada), and desiring to know
the details thereof, asked the Brahmana, after his narration was concluded,
to satisfy their curiosity. The Pandavas said, 'How, O Brahmana, did the
birth of Dhrishtadyumna the son of Drupada, take place from the
(sacrificial) fire? How also did the extraordinary birth of Krishna take
place from the centre of the sacrificial platform? How also did Drupada's
son learn all weapons from the great bowman Drona? And, O Brahmana, how
and for whom and for what reason was the friendship between Drona and
Drupada broken off?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus questioned, O monarch, by those bulls among
men, the Brahmana narrated all the particulars about the birth of


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Brahmana said, 'At that region where the Ganga entered the plains
there lived a great Rishi, devoted to the austerest of penances. Of rigid
vows and great wisdom, he bore the name Bharadwaja. One day, on coming to
the Ganga to perform his ablutions, the Rishi saw the Apsara Ghritachi,
who had come before, standing on the bank after her ablutions were over.
And it so happened that a wind arose and disrobed the Apsara standing
there. And the Rishi beholding her thus disrobed, felt the influence of
desire. Though practising the vow of continence from his very youth, as
soon as he felt the influence of desire, the Rishi's vital fluid came out.
And as it came out, he held it in a pot (drana), and of that fluid thus
preserved in a pot was born a son who came to be called Drona (the pot-
born). And Drona studied all the Vedas and their several branches. And
Bharadwaja had a friend named Prishata who was the king of Panchalas. And
about the time that Drona was born, Prishata also obtained a son named
Drupada. And that bull amongst Kshatriyas, Prishata's son, going every day
to that asylum of Bharadwaja, played and studied with Drona. And after
Prishata's death, Drupada succeeded him on the throne. Drona about this
time heard that (the great Brahmana hero) Rama (on the eve of his retiring
into the weeds) was resolved to give away all his wealth. Hearing this,
the son of Bharadwaja repaired unto Rama who was about to retire into the
woods and addressing him, said, 'O best of Brahmanas, know me to be Drona
who hath come to thee to obtain thy wealth.' Rama replied, saying, 'I have
given away everything. All that I now have is this body of mine and my
weapons. O Brahmana, thou mayest ask of me one of these two, either my
body or my weapons.' Then Drona said, 'It behoveth thee, sir, to give me
all thy weapons together with (the mysteries of) their use and

"The Brahmana continued, 'Then Rama of Bhrigu's race, saying, 'So be it,'
gave all his weapons unto Drona, who obtaining them regarded himself as
crowned with success. Drona obtaining from Rama the most exalted of all
weapons, called the Brahma weapon, became exceedingly glad and acquired a
decided superiority over all men. Then the son of Bharadwaja, endued with
great prowess went to king Drupada, and approaching that monarch, that
tiger among men, said, 'Know me for thy friend.' Hearing this Drupada said,
'One of low birth can never be the friend of one whose lineage is pure,
nor can one who is not a car-warrior have a car-warrior for his friend. So
also one who is not a king cannot have a king as his friend. Why dost thou,
therefore, desire (to revive our) former friendship?'

"The Brahmana continued, 'Drona, gifted with great intelligence, was
extremely mortified at this, and settling in his mind some means of
humiliating the king of the Panchala he went to the capital of the Kurus,
called after the name of an elephant. Then Bhishma, taking with him his
grandsons, presented them unto the wise son of Bharadwaja as his pupils
for instruction, along with various kinds of wealth. Then Drona, desirous
of humiliating king Drupada, called together his disciples and addressed
them, 'Ye sinless ones, it behoveth you, after you have been accomplished
in arms, to give me as preceptorial fee something that I cherish in my
heart.' Then Arjuna and others said unto their preceptor, 'So be it.'--
After a time when the Pandavas became skilled in arms and sure aims,
demanding of them his fee, he again told them these words, 'Drupada, the
son of Prishata, is the king of Chhatravati. Take away from him his
kingdom, and give it unto me.' Then the Pandavas, defeating Drupada in
battle and taking him prisoner along with his ministers, offered him unto
Drona, who beholding the vanquished monarch, said, 'O king, I again
solicit thy friendship; and because none who is not a king deserveth to be
the friend of a king, therefore, O Yajnasena, I am resolved to divide thy
kingdom amongst ourselves. While thou art the king of the country to the
south of Bhagirathi (Ganga), I will rule the country to the north.'

"The Brahmana continued, 'The king of the Panchalas, thus addressed by the
wise son of Bharadwaja, told that best of Brahmanas and foremost of all
persons conversant with weapons, these words, 'O high-souled son of
Bharadwaja, blest be thou, let it be so, let there be eternal friendship
between us as thou desirest!' Thus addressing each other and establishing
a permanent bond between themselves, Drona and the king of Panchala, both
of them chastisers of foes, went away to the places they came from. But
the thought of that humiliation did not leave the king's mind for a single
moment. Sad at heart, the king began to waste away.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Brahmana continued, 'King Drupada (after this), distressed at heart,
wandered among many asylums of Brahmanas in search of superior Brahmanas
well-skilled in sacrificial rites. Overwhelmed with grief and eagerly
yearning for children, the king always said, 'Oh, I have no offspring
surpassing all in accomplishments.' And the monarch, from great
despondency, always said 'Oh, fie on those children that I have and on my
relatives!' And ever thinking of revenging himself on Drona, the monarch
sighed incessantly. And that best of kings, O Bharata, even after much
deliberation, saw no way of overcoming, by his Kshatriya might, the
prowess and discipline and training and accomplishment of Drona. Wandering
along the banks of the Yamuna and the Ganga, the monarch once came upon a
sacred asylum of Brahmanas. There was in that asylum no Brahmana who was
not a Snataka, no one who was not of rigid vows, and none who was not
virtuous to a high degree. And the king saw there two Brahmana sages named
Yaja and Upayaja, both of rigid vows and souls under complete control and
belonging to the most superior order. They were both devoted to the study
of the ancient institutes and sprung from the race of Kasyapa. And those
best of Brahmanas were well able to help the king in the attainment of his
object. The king then, with great assiduity and singleness of purpose,
began to court this pair of excellent Brahmanas. Ascertaining the superior
accomplishments of the younger of the two the king courted in private
Upayaja of rigid vows, by the offer of every desirable acquisition.
Employed in paying homage to the feet of Upayaja, always addressing in
sweet words and offering him every object of human desire, Drupada, after
worshipping that Brahmana, addressed him (one day), saying, 'O Upayaja, O
Brahmana, if thou, performest those sacrificial rites by (virtue of) which
I may obtain a son who may slay Drona, I promise thee ten thousand kine,
or whatever else may be agreeable to thee, O first of Brahmanas, truly am
I ready to make gifts to thee.' Thus addressed by the king, the Rishi
replied, saying, 'I cannot (perform such rites).' But Drupada without
accepting this reply as final, once more began to serve and pay homage
unto that Brahmana. Then, after the expiration of a year, Upayaja, that
first of Brahmanas, O monarch, addressing Drupada in sweet tone, said, 'My
elder brother (Yaja), one day, while wandering through the deep woods,
took up a fruit that had fallen upon a spot the purity of which he cared
not to enquire about. I was following him (at the time) and observed this
unworthy act of his. Indeed, he entertains no scruples in accepting things
impure. In accepting that (particular) fruit he saw not any impropriety of
sinful nature: Indeed, he who observeth not purity (in one instance) is
not very likely to observe it in the other instances. When he lived in the
house of his preceptor, employed in studying the institutes, he always
used to eat (impure) remnants of other people's feasts. He always speaks
approvingly of food and entertains no dislike for anything. Arguing from
these, I believe that my brother covets earthy acquisitions. Therefore, O
king, go unto him; he will perform spiritual offices for thee.' Hearing
these words of Upayaja, king Drupada, though entertaining a low opinion of
Yaja, nevertheless went to his abode. Worshipping Yaja who was (still)
worthy of homage, Drupada said unto him, 'O master, perform thou spiritual
offices for me and I will give thee eighty thousand kine! Enmity with
Drona burneth my heart; it behoveth thee therefore to cool that heart of
mine. Foremost of those conversant with the Vedas, Drona is also skilled
in the Brahma weapon and for this, Drona hath overcome me in a contest
arising from (impaired) friendship. Gifted with great intelligence, the
son of Bharadwaja is (now) the chief preceptor of the Kurus. There is no
Kshatriya in this world superior to him. His bow is full six cubits long
and looks formidable, and his shafts are capable of slaying every living
being. That great bowman, the high-souled son of Bharadwaja, habited as a
Brahmana, is destroying the Kshatriya power all over the earth. Indeed, he
is like a second Jamadagnya intended for the extermination of the
Kshatriya race. There is no man on earth who can overcome the terrible
force of his weapons. Like a blazing fire fed with clarified butter, Drona,
possessed of Brahma might and uniting it with Kshatriya might, consumeth
every antagonist in battle. But (thy) Brahma force is greater in itself
than (Drona's) Brahma force united with Kshatriya might. Therefore, as I
am inferior (to Drona) in consequence of my possession of Kshatriya might
alone, I solicit the aid of thy Brahma force, having obtained thee so
superior to Drona in knowledge of Brahma. O Yaja, perform that sacrifice
by means of which I may obtain a son invincible in battle and capable of
slaying Drona. Ready am I to give thee ten thousand kine.' Hearing these
words of Drupada, Yaja said, 'So be it.' Yaja then began to recollect the
various ceremonies appertaining to the particular sacrifice. And knowing
the affair to be a very grave one, he asked the assistance of Upayaja who
coveted nothing. Then Yaja promised to perform the sacrifice for the
destruction of Drona. Then the great ascetic Upayaja spoke unto king
Drupada of everything required for the grand sacrifice (by aid of fire)
from which the king was to obtain offspring. And he said, 'O king, a child
shall be born unto thee, endued, as thou desirest, with great prowess,
great energy, and great strength.'

"The Brahmana continued, 'Then king Drupada, impelled by the desire of
obtaining a son who was to slay Drona, began, for the success of his wish,
to make the necessary preparations. (And when everything was complete)
Yaja, after having poured libations of clarified butter on the sacrificial
fire, commanded Drupada's queen, saying, 'Come hither, O queen, O daughter-
in-law of Prishata! A son and a daughter have arrived for thee!' Hearing
this, the queen said, 'O Brahmana, my mouth is yet filled with saffron and
other perfumed things. My body also beareth many sweet scents; I am hardly
fit for accepting (the sanctified butter which is to give me offspring).
Wait for me a little, O Yaja! Wait for that happy consummation.' Yaja,
however, replied, 'O lady, whether thou comest or waitest, why should not
the object of this sacrifice be accomplished when the oblation hath
already been prepared by me and sanctified by Upayaja's invocations?'

"The Brahmana continued, 'Having said this, Yaja poured the sanctified
libation on the fire, whereupon arose from those flames a child resembling
a celestial who possessing the effulgence of fire, was terrible to behold.
With a crown on this head and his body encased in excellent armour, sword
in hand, and bearing a bow and arrows, he frequently sent forth loud roars.
And immediately after his birth, he ascended an excellent chariot and went
about in it for some time. Then the Panchalas in great joy shouted,
'Excellent, Excellent.' The very earth seemed at that time unable to bear
the weight of the Panchalas mad with joy. Then, marvellous to say, the
voice of some invisible spirit in the skies said, 'This prince hath been
born for the destruction of Drona. He shall dispel all the fears of the
Panchalas and spread their fame. He shall also remove the sorrow of the
king.' And there arose, after this from the centre of the sacrificial
platform, a daughter also, called Panchali, who, blest with great good
fortune, was exceedingly handsome. Her eyes were black, and large as lotus-
petals, her complexion was dark, and her locks were blue and curly. Her
nails were beautifully convex, and bright as burnished copper; her eye-
brows were fair, and bosom was deep. Indeed, she resembled the veritable
daughter of a celestial born among men. Her body gave out fragrance like
that of a blue lotus, perceivable from a distance of full two miles. Her
beauty was such that she had no equal on earth. Like a celestial herself,
she could be desired (in marriage) by a celestial, a Danava, or a Yaksha.
When this girl of fair hips was born an incorporeal voice said, 'This dark-
complexioned girl will be the first of all women, and she will be the
cause of the destruction of many Kshatriyas. This slender-waisted one will,
in time, accomplish the purpose of the gods, and along with her many a
danger will overtake the Kauravas.' On hearing these words, the Panchalas
uttered a loud leonine roar, and the earth was unable to bear the weight
of that joyous concourse. Then beholding the boy and the girl, the
daughter-in-law of Prishata, desiring to have them, approached Yaja and
said, 'Let not these know any one else except myself as their mother.'
Yaja, desiring to do good unto the king said, 'So be it!' Then the
Brahmanas (present there), their expectations fully gratified, bestowed
names upon the new-born pair, 'Let this son of king Drupada, they said, be
called Dhrishtadyumna, because of his excessive audacity and because of
his being born like Dyumna with a natural mail and weapon.' And they also
said, 'Because this daughter is so dark in complexion, she should be
called Krishna (the dark).'

"The Brahmana continued, 'Thus were born those twins of the great
sacrifice of Drupada. And the great Drona, bringing the Panchala prince
into his own abode, taught him all weapons in requital of half the kingdom
he had formerly taken from Drupada. The high-souled son of Bharadwaja,
regarding destiny to be inevitable, did what would perpetuate his own
great deeds.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Hearing these words of the Brahmana, the sons of
Kunti seemed to be, as it were, pierced with darts. Indeed, all those
mighty heroes lost their peace of mind. Then the truthful Kunti, beholding
all her sons listless and inattentive, addressed Yudhishthira and said,
'We have now lived many nights in the abode of this Brahmana. We have
passed our time pleasantly in this town, living on the alms obtained from
many honest and illustrious persons. O oppressor of foes, as we have now
seen often and often all the agreeable woods and gardens that are in this
part of the country, seeing them again would no longer give any pleasure.
O heroic scion of Kuru's race, alms also are not now obtainable here as
easily as before. If thou wishest it would be well for us now to go to
Panchala; we have not seen that country, it will, no doubt, O hero, prove
delightful to us. O crusher of foes, it hath been heard by us that alms
are obtainable in the country of the Panchala, and that Yajnasena, the
king thereof, is devoted to Brahmanas. I am of opinion that it is not good
to live long in one place. Therefore, O son, if thou likest, it is good
for us to go there.'

"Hearing these words, Yudhishthira said, 'It is our duty to obey thy
command, which, besides, must be for our good. I do not, however, know
whether my younger brothers are willing to go.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Then Kunti spoke unto Bhimasena and Arjuna and
the twins regarding the journey to Panchala. They all said, 'So be it.'
Then, O king, Kunti with her sons saluted the Brahmana (in whose house
they had dwelt) and set out for the delightful town of the illustrious

"Vaisampayana said, 'While the illustrious Pandavas were living disguised
in the abode of the Brahmana, Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, once went to
see them. Those chastisers of foes, beholding him coming rose up and
stepped onward to receive him. Saluting him reverentially and worshipping
him also the Pandavas stood in silence with joined hands. Thus worshipped
by them the sage became gratified. He asked them to be seated, and
cheerfully addressing them said, 'Ye slayers of foes, are ye living in the
path of virtue and according to the scriptures? Do ye worship the
Brahmanas? Ye are not, I hope, backward in paying homage unto those that
deserve your homage?' The illustrious Rishi, after this, spoke many words
of virtuous import, and after discoursing upon many topics of great
interest, he said, 'An illustrious Rishi, living in a certain hermitage,
had a daughter of tender waist, fair lips, and fine eye-brows, and
possessing every accomplishment. As a consequence of her own acts (in a
past life) the fair maid became very unfortunate. Though chaste and
beautiful, the damsel obtained not a husband. With a sorrowful heart she
thereupon began to practise ascetic penances with the object of obtaining
a husband. She soon gratified by her severe the god Sankara (Mahadeva),
who became propitious unto her and said unto that illustrious damsel, 'Ask
thou the boon thou desirest! Blest be thou! I am Sankara prepared to give
thee what thou wilt ask.' Desirous of benefiting herself, the maid
repeatedly said unto the supreme lord, 'O give me, a husband endued with
every accomplishment.' Then Isana (Mahadeva), that foremost of all
speakers, replied unto her, saying, 'O blessed one, thou shall have five
husbands from among the Bharata princes.' Thus told, the maiden said unto
the god who had given her that boon, 'O lord, I desire to have only one
husband through thy grace.' The god then addressed her again and said
these excellent words, 'Thou hast, O girl, said full five times, 'Give me
(a) husband.' Thou shalt, therefore, in another life have five husbands!'
Ye princes of Bharata's line, that damsel of celestial beauty hath been
born in the line of Drupada. The faultless Krishna of Prishata's line hath
been appointed to be the wife of you all. Ye mighty ones, go therefore, to
the capital of the Panchalas and dwell ye there. There is no doubt that
having obtained her as wife ye shall be very happy.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having said so unto the Pandavas, the
illustrious and blessed grandsire then bade them farewell. The great
ascetic then left them and went to the place whence he had come.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'After Vyasa had gone away, those bulls among men, the
Pandavas, saluted the Brahmana and bade him farewell, and proceeded
(towards Panchala) with joyous hearts and with their mother walking before
them. Those slayers of all foes, in order to reach their destination,
proceeded in a due northerly direction, walking day and night till they
reached a sacred shrine of Siva with the crescent mark on his brow. Then
those tigers among men, the sons of Pandu, arrived at the banks of the
Ganga, Dhananjaya, that mighty car-warrior, walking before them, torch in
hand, for showing the way and guarding them (against wild animals). And it
so happened that at that time the proud king of the Gandharvas, with his
wives, was sporting in that solitary region in the delightful waters of
the Ganga. The king of the Gandharvas heard the tread of the Pandavas as
they approached the river. On hearing the sounds of their foot-steps, the
mighty Gandharvas were inflamed with wrath, and beholding those chastisers
of foes, the Pandavas, approach towards him with their mother, he drew his
frightful bow to a circle and said, 'It is known that excepting the first
forty seconds the grey twilight preceding nightfall hath been appointed
for the wandering of the Yakshas, the Gandharvas and the Rakshasas, all of
whom are capable of going everywhere at will. The rest of the time hath
been appointed for man to do his work. If therefore, men, wandering during
those moments from greed of gain, come near us, both we and the Rakshasas
slay those fools. Therefore, persons acquainted with the Vedas never
applaud those men--not even kings at the head of their troops--who
approach any pools of water at such a time. Stay ye at a distance, and
approach me not. Know ye not that I am bathing in the waters of the
Bhagirathi? Know that I am Angaraparna the Gandharva, ever relying on my
own strength! I am proud and haughty and am the friend of Kuvera. This my
forest on the banks of the Ganga, where I sport to gratify all my senses,
is called Angaraparna after my own name. Here neither gods, nor Kapalikas,
nor Gandharvas nor Yakshas, can come. How dare ye approach me who am the
brightest jewel on the diadem of Kuvera?'

"Hearing these words of the Gandharva, Arjuna said, 'Blockhead, whether it
be day, night, or twilight, who can bar others from the ocean, the sides
of the Himalayas, and this river? O ranger of the skies, whether the
stomach be empty or full, whether it is night or day, there is no special
time for anybody to come to the Ganga--that foremost of all rivers. As
regards ourselves endued with might, we care not when we disturb thee.
Wicked being, those who are weak in fighting worship thee. This Ganga,
issuing out of the golden peaks of Himavat, falleth into the waters of the
ocean, being distributed into seven streams. They who drink the waters of
these seven streams, viz., Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Vitashtha, Sarayu,
Gomati, and Gandaki, are cleansed of all their sins. O Gandharva, this
sacred Ganga again, flowing through the celestial region is called there
the Alakananda. It hath again in the region of the Pitris become the
Vaitarani, difficult of being crossed by sinners, and, Krishna-Dwaipayana
himself hath said so. The auspicious and celestial river, capable of
leading to heaven (them that touch its waters), is free from all dangers.
Why dost thou then desire to bar us from it? This act of thine is not in
consonance with eternal virtue. Disregarding thy words, why shall we not
touch the sacred waters of the Bhagirathi free from all dangers and from
which none can bar us?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing these words of Arjuna, Angaraparna
became inflamed with wrath and drawing his bow to a circle began to shoot
his arrows like venomous snakes at the Pandavas. Then Dhananjaya, the son
of Pandu, wielding a good shield and the torch he held in his hand, warded
off all those arrows and addressing the Gandharva again said, 'O Gandharva,
seek not to terrify those that are skilled in weapons, for weapons hurled
at them vanish like froth. I think, O Gandharva, that ye are superior (in
prowess) to men; therefore shall I fight with thee, using celestial
weapons and not with any crooked means. This fiery weapon (that I shall
hurl at thee), Vrihaspati the revered preceptor of Indra, gave unto
Bharadwaja, from whom it was obtained by Agnivesya, and from Agnivesya by
my preceptor, that foremost of Brahmanas, Drona, who gave it away to me.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Saying these words, the Pandava wrathfully
hurled at the Gandharva that blazing weapon made of fire which burnt the
Gandharva's chariot in a trice. Deprived of consciousness by the force of
that weapon, the mighty Gandharva was falling, head downward, from his
chariot. Dhananjaya seized him by the hair of his head adorned with
garlands of flowers and thus dragged the unconscious Gandharva towards his
brothers. Beholding this, that Gandharva's wife Kumbhinasi, desirous of
saving her husband, ran towards Yudhishthira and sought his protection.
The Gandharvi said, 'O exalted one, extend to me thy protection! O, set my
husband free! O lord, I am Kumbhinasi by name, the wife of this Gandharva,
who seeketh thy protection!' Beholding her (so afflicted), the mighty
Yudhishthira addressed Arjuna and said, 'O slayer of foes, O child, who
would slay a foe who hath been vanquished in fight, who hath been deprived
of fame, who is protected by a woman, and who hath no prowess?' Arjuna
replied, saying, 'Keep thou thy life, O Gandharva! Go hence, and grieve
not I. Yudhishthira, the king of the Kurus, commandeth me to show thee

"The Gandharva replied, 'I have been vanquished by thee. I shall,
therefore, abandon my former name Angaraparna (the blazing vehicle). In
name alone, O friend, I should not be boastful when my pride in my
strength hath been overcome: I have been fortunate in that I have obtained
thee; O Arjuna, that wielder of celestial weapons! I like to impart to
thee the power of (producing) illusions which Gandharvas alone have. My
excellent and variegated chariot hath been burnt by means of thy fiery
weapon. I who had formerly been called after my excellent chariot should
now be called after my burnt chariot. The science of producing illusions
that I have spoken of was formerly obtained by me by ascetic penances.
That science I will today impart to the giver of my life--thy illustrious
self! What good luck doth he not deserve who, after overcoming a foe by
his might, giveth him life when that foe asketh for it? This science is
called Chakshushi. It was communicated by Manu unto Soma and by Soma unto
Viswavasu, and lastly by Viswavasu unto me. Communicated by my preceptor,
that science, having come unto me who am without energy, is gradually
becoming fruitless. I have spoken to thee about its origin and
transmission. Listen now to its power! One may see (by its aid) whatever
one wisheth to see, and in whatever way he liketh (generally or
particularly). One can acquire this science only after standing on one leg
for six months. I shall however, communicate to thee this science without
thyself being obliged to observe any rigid vow. O king, it is for this
knowledge that we are superior to men. And as we are capable of seeing
everything by spiritual sight, we are equal to the gods. O best of men, I
intend to give thee and each of thy brothers a hundred steeds born in the
country of the Gandharvas. Of celestial colour and endued with the speed
of the mind, those horses are employed in bearing the celestial, and the
Gandharvas. They may be lean-fleshed but they tire not, nor doth their
speed suffer on that account. In days of yore the thunderbolt was created
for the chief of the celestials in order that he might slay (the Asura)
Vritra with it. But hurled at Vritra's head it broke in a thousand pieces.
The celestials worship with reverence those fragments of the thunderbolt.
That which is known in the three worlds as glory is but a portion of the
thunderbolt. The hand of the Brahmana with which he poureth libations on
the sacrificial fire, the chariot upon which the Kshatriya fighteth, the
charity of the Vaisya, and the service of the Sudra rendered unto the
three other classes, are all fragments of the thunderbolt. It hath been
said that horses, forming as they do a portion of the Kshatriya's chariot,
are, on that account, unslayable. Again horses which form a portion of the
Kshatriya's chariot, are the offspring of Vadava. Those amongst them that
are born in the region of the Gandharvas can go everywhere and assume any
hue and speed at the will of their owners. These horses of mine that I
give thee will always gratify thy wishes.'

"On hearing these words of the Gandharva, Arjuna said, 'O Gandharva, if
from satisfaction for having obtained thy life at my hands in a situation
of danger, thou givest me thy science, and these horses, I would not
accept thy gift.' The Gandharva replied, saying, 'A meeting with an
illustrious person is ever a source of gratification; besides thou hast
given me my life. Gratified with thee, I will give thee my science. That
the obligation, however, may not all be on one side, I will take from thee,
O Vibhatsu, O bull in Bharata's race, thy excellent and eternal weapon of

"Arjuna said, 'I would accept thy horses in exchange for my weapon. Let
our friendship last for ever. O friend, tell us for what we human beings
have to stand in fear of the Gandharvas. Chastisers of foes that we are
and virtuous and conversant with the Vedas, tell us, O Gandharva, why in
travelling in the night-time we have been censured by thee.'

"The Gandharva said, 'Ye are without wives (though ye have completed the
period of study). Ye are without a particular Asrama (mode of life).
Lastly, ye are out without a Brahmana walking before, therefore, ye sons
of Pandu, ye have been censured by me. The Yakshas, Rakshasas, Gandharvas,
Pisachas, Uragas and Danavas, are possessed of wisdom and intelligence,
and acquainted with the history of the Kuru race. O hero, I have heard too
from Narada and other celestial Rishis about the good deeds of your wise
ancestors. I myself, too, while roaming over the whole earth bounded by
her belt of seas, have witnessed the prowess of thy great race. O Arjuna,
I have personal knowledge of thy preceptor, the illustrious son of
Bharadwaja, celebrated throughout the three worlds for his knowledge of
the Vedas and the science of arms. O tiger in Kuru's race, O son of Pritha,
I also know Dharma, Vayu, Sakra, the twin Aswins, and Pandu,--these six
perpetuators of Kuru race,--these excellent celestials and human
progenitors of you all. I also know that you five brothers are learned and
high-souled, that ye are foremost of all wielders of weapons, that ye are
brave and virtuous and observant of vows. Knowing that your understanding
and hearts are excellent and your behaviour faultless, I have yet censured
you. For, O thou of Kuru's race, it behoveth no man endued with might of
arms to bear with patience any ill usage in the sight of his wife.
Especially as, O son of Kunti, our might increaseth during the hours of
darkness, accompanied by my wife I was filled with wrath. O best of vow-
observing men, I have, however, been vanquished by thee in battle. Listen
to me as I tell thee the reasons that have led to my discomfiture. The
Brahmacharya is a very superior mode of life, and as art in that mode now,
it is for this, O Partha, that I have been defeated by thee in battle. O
chastiser of foes, if any married Kshatriya fight with us at night, he can
never escape, with life. But, O Partha, a married Kshatriya, who is
sanctified with Brahma, and who hath assigned the cares of his State to a
priest, might vanquish all wanderers in the night. O child of Tapati, men
should therefore, ever employ learned priests possessing self-command for
the acquisition of every good luck they desire. That Brahmana is worthy of
being the king's priest who is learned in the Vedas and the six branches
thereof, who is pure and truthful, who is of virtuous soul and possessed
of self-command. The monarch becometh ever victorious and finally earneth
heaven who hath for his priest a Brahmana conversant with the rules of
morality, who is a master of words, and is pure and of good behaviour. The
king should always select an accomplished priest in order to acquire what
he hath not and protect what he hath. He who desireth his own prosperity
should ever be guided by his priest, for he may then obtain ever the whole
earth surrounded by her belt of seas. O son of Tapati, a king, who is
without a Brahmana, can never acquire any land by his bravery or glory of
birth alone. Know, therefore, O perpetuator of Kuru's race, that the
kingdom lasteth for ever in which Brahmanas have power.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Arjuna said, 'Thou hast addressed me (more than once) as Tapatya. I
therefore wish to know what the precise significance of this word is, O
virtuous Gandharva, being sons of Kunti, we are, indeed, Kaunteyas. But
who is Tapati that we should be called Tapatyas?'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Thus addressed, the Gandharva related to
Dhananjaya, the son of Kunti, the (following) story well-known in the
three worlds.'

"The Gandharva said, 'O son of Pritha, O foremost of all intelligent men,
I will duly recite to you in full this charming narrative. O, listen with
attention to what I say in explanation of why I have addressed thee as
Tapatya. That one in heaven who pervadeth by his light the whole firmament
had a daughter named Tapati equal unto himself. Tapati, the daughter of
the god Vivaswat, was the younger sister of Savitri, and she was
celebrated throughout the three worlds and devoted to ascetic penances.
There was no woman amongst the celestials, the Asuras, the Yakshas, the
Rakshasas, the Apsaras, and the Gandharvas, who was equal to her in beauty.
Of perfect, and faultless features, of black and large eyes, and in
beautiful attire, the girl was chaste and of perfect conduct. And, O
Bharata, seeing her Savitri (the sun) thought that there was none in the
three worlds who, for his beauty, accomplishments, behaviour, and learning,
deserved to be her husband. Beholding her attain the age of puberty and,
therefore, worthy of being bestowed on a husband, her father knew no peace
of mind, always thinking of the person he should select. At that time, O
son of Kunti, Riksha's son, that bull amongst the Kurus, the mighty king
Samvarana, was duly worshipping Surya with offerings of Arghya and flower-
garlands and scents, and with vows and fasts and ascetic penances of
various kinds. Indeed, Samvarana was worshipping Surya constantly in all
his glory, with devotion and humility and piety. And beholding Samvarana
conversant with all rules of virtue and unequalled on earth for beauty,
Surya regarded him as the fit husband for his daughter, Tapati. And, O
thou of Kuru's race, Vivaswat then resolved to bestow his daughter on that
best of kings, viz., Samvarana, the scion of a race of world-wide fame. As
Surya himself in the heavens filleth the firmament with his splendour, so
did king Samvarana on earth fill every region with the splendour of his
good achievements. And all men, O Partha, except Brahmanas, worshipped
Samvarana. Blest with good luck, king Samvarana excelled Soma in soothing
the hearts of friends and Surya in scorching the hearts of foes. And, O
Kaurava, Tapana (Surya) himself was resolved upon bestowing his daughter
Tapati upon king Samvarana, who was possessed of such virtues and

"Once on a time, O Partha, king Samvarana, endued with beauty (of person)
and immeasurable prowess, went on a hunting expedition to the under-woods
on the mountain-breast. While wandering in quest of deer, the excellent
steed the king rode, overcome, O Partha, with hunger, thirst and fatigue,
died on the mountains. Abandoning the steed, the king, O Arjuna, began to
wander about upon the mountain-breast on foot and in course of his
wandering the monarch saw a maiden of large eyes and unrivalled beauty,
That grinder of hostile host--that tiger among kings--himself without a
companion, beholding there that maiden without a companion, stood
motionless gazing at her steadfastly. For her beauty, the monarch for some
moment believed her to be (the goddess) Sri herself. Next he regarded her
to be the embodiment of the rays emanating from Surya. In splendour of her
person she resembled a flame of fire, though in benignity and loveliness
she resembled a spotless digit of the moon. And standing on the mountain-
breast, the black-eyed maiden appeared like a bright statue of gold. The
mountain itself with its creepers and plants, because of the beauty and
attire of that damsel, seemed to be converted into gold. The sight of that
maiden inspired the monarch with a contempt for all women that he had seen
before. By beholding her, the king regarded his eye-sight truly blessed.
Nothing the king had seen from the day of his birth could equal, he
thought, the beauty of that girl. The king's heart and eyes were
captivated by that damsel, as if they were bound with a cord and he
remained rooted to that spot, deprived of his senses. The monarch thought
that the artificer of so much beauty had created it only after churning
the whole world of gods Asuras and human beings. Entertaining these
various thoughts, king Samvarana regarded that maiden as unrivalled in the
three worlds for wealth of beauty.

"And the monarch of pure descent, beholding the beautiful maiden, was
pierced with Kama's (Cupid's) shafts and lost his peace of mind. Burnt
with the strong flame of desire the king asked that charming maiden, still
innocent, though in her full youth, saying, 'Who art thou and whose? Why
also dost thou stay here? O thou of sweet smiles, why dost thou wander
alone in these solitary woods? Of every feature perfectly faultless, and
decked with every ornament, thou seemest to be the coveted ornament of
these ornaments themselves! Thou seemest not to be of celestial or Asura
or Yaksha or Rakshasa or Naga or Gandharva or human origin. O excellent
lady, the best of women that I have ever seen or heard of would not
compare with thee in beauty! O thou of handsome face, at sight of thee
lovelier than the moon and graced with eyes like lotus-petals, the god of
desire is grinding me.'

"King Samvarana thus addressed that damsel in the forest, who however,
spoke not a word unto the monarch burning with desire. Instead, like
lightning in the clouds, that large-eyed maiden quickly disappeared in the
very sight of the monarch. The king then wandered through the whole forest,
like one out of his senses, in search of that girl of eyes like lotus-
petals. Failing to find her, that best of monarchs indulged in copious
lamentations and for a time stood motionless with grief.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'When that maiden disappeared, that feller of
hostile ranks deprived of his senses by Kama (concupiscence) himself fell
down on the earth. And as the monarch fell down, that maiden of sweet
smiles and prominent and round hips appeared again before him, and smiling
sweetly, said unto that perpetuator of Kuru's race these honeyed words,
'Rise, rise, O chastiser of foes! Blest be thou; it behoveth thee not, O
tiger among kings, to lose thy reason, a celebrated man as thou art in the
world.' Addressed in these honeyed words, the king opened his eyes and saw
before him that selfsame girl of swelling hips. The monarch who was
burning with the flame of desire then addressed that black-eyed damsel in
accents, weak with emotion, and said, 'Blest be thou O excellent woman of
black eyes! As I am burning with desire and paying thee court, O, accept
me! My life is ebbing away. O thou of large eyes, for thy sake it is, O
thou of the splendour of the filaments of the lotus, that Kama is
incessantly piercing me with his keen shafts without stopping for a
moment! O amiable and cheerful girl, I have been bitten by Kama who is
even like a venomous viper. O thou of swelling and large hips, have mercy
on me! O thou of handsome and faultless features, O thou of face like unto
the lotus-petal or the moon, O thou of voice sweet as that of singing
Kinnaras, my life now depends on thee! Without thee, O timid one, I am
unable to live! O thou of eyes like lotus-petals, Kama is piercing me
incessantly! O large-eyed girl, be merciful unto me! It becometh thee not,
O black-eyed maid, to cast me off; O handsome girl, it behoveth thee to
relieve me from such affliction by giving me thy love! At first sight thou
hast attracted my heart. My mind wandereth! Beholding thee I like not to
cast my eyes on any other woman! Be merciful! I am thy obedient slave--thy
adorer! O, accept me! O beautiful lady, O large-eyed girl at the sight of
thee, the god of desire hath entered my heart, and is piercing me with his
shafts! O thou of lotus-eyes, the flame of desire burneth within me! O,
extinguish that flame with the water of thy love poured on it! O beautiful
lady, by becoming mine, pacify thou the irrepressible god of desire that
hath appeared here armed with his deadly bow and arrows and that is
piercing me incessantly with those keen shafts of his! O thou of the
fairest complexion, wed me according to the Gandharva form, for, O thou of
tapering hips, of all forms of marriage the Gandharva hath been said to be
the best.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Hearing those words of the monarch, Tapati made
answer, 'O king, I am not the mistress of my own self! Be it known that I
am a maiden under the control of my father. If thou really entertainest an
affection for me, demand me of my father. Thou sayest, O king, that thy
heart hath been robbed by me. But thou also hast, at first sight, robbed
me of my heart; I am not the mistress of my body, and therefore, O best of
kings, I do not approach thee; women are never independent. What girl is
there in the three worlds that would not desire thee for her husband, as
thou art kind unto all thy dependents and as thou art born in a pure race?
Therefore, when the opportunity comes, ask my father Aditya for my hand
with worship, ascetic penances, and vows. If my father bestoweth me upon
thee, then, O king, I shall ever be thy obedient wife. My name is Tapati
and I am the younger sister of Savitri, and the daughter, O bull amongst
Kshatriyas of Savitri, of (Sun) the illuminator of the universe.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'Saying this, Tapati of faultless features,
ascended the skies. The monarch thereupon again fell down on the earth.
His ministers and followers searching for him throughout the forest at
length came upon him lying on that solitary spot, and beholding that
excellent king, that mighty bowman, thus lying forsaken on the ground like
a rainbow dropped from the firmament, his minister-in-chief became like
one burnt by a flame of fire. Advancing hastily with affection and respect,
the minister raised that best of monarchs lying prostrate on the ground
and deprived of his senses by desire. Old in wisdom as in age, old in
achievements as in policy, the minister, after having raised the prostrate
monarch, became easy (in mind). Addressing the king in sweet words that
were also for his good, he said, 'Blest be thou, O sinless one! Fear not,
O tiger among kings!' The minister thought that the monarch, that great
feller of hostile ranks in battle, had been lying on the ground overcome
with hunger, thirst, and fatigue. The old man then sprinkled over the
crownless head of the monarch water that was cold and rendered fragrant
with lotus-petals. Slowly regaining his consciousness, the mighty monarch
sent away all his attendants with the exception of his minister only.
After those attendants had retired at his command, the king sat upon the
mountain-breast. Having purified himself duly, the king sat upon that
chief of mountains, and began, with joined palms and upturned face, to
worship Surya. King Samvarana, that smiter of all foes, thought also of
his chief priest Vasishtha, that best of Rishis. The king continued to sit
there day and night without intermission. The Brahmana sage Vasishtha came
there on the twelfth day: that great Rishi of soul under perfect command
knew at once by his ascetic power that the monarch had lost his senses in
consequence of Tapati. And that virtuous and best of Munis, as soon as he
knew this, desirous of benefiting the monarch who was ever observant of
vows, addressed him and gave him every assurance. The illustrious Rishi,
in the very sight of that monarch, ascended upward to interview Surya,
himself possessed of the splendour of that luminary. The Brahmana then
approached with joined hands the god of a thousand rays and introduced
himself cheerfully unto him, saying, 'I am Vasishtha.' Then Vivaswat of
great energy said unto that best of Rishis, 'Welcome art thou, O great
Rishi! Tell me what is in thy mind. O thou of great good fortune, whatever
thou demandest of me, O foremost of eloquent men, I will confer on thee,
however difficult it may be for me!' Thus addressed by Surya, the Rishi of
great ascetic merit, bowing unto the god of light, replied, saying, 'O
Vibhavasu, this thy daughter, Tapati, the younger sister of Savitri, I ask
of thee for Samvarana! That monarch is of mighty achievements, conversant
with virtue, and of high soul. O firmament-ranger, Samvarana will make a
worthy husband for thy daughter.' Thus addressed by the Rishi Vibhakara,
resolved upon bestowing his daughter upon Samvarana, saluted the Rishi,
and replied unto him, saying, 'Oh, Samvarana is the best of monarchs, thou
art the best of Rishis, Tapati is the best of women. What should we do,
therefore, but bestow her on Samvarana?' With these words, the god Tapana,
made over his daughter, Tapati, of every feature perfectly faultless, unto
the illustrious Vasishtha to bestow her upon Samvarana. And the great
Rishi then accepted the girl, Tapati, and taking leave of Surya, came back
to the spot, where that bull amongst the Kurus, of celestial achievements,
was. King Samvarana, possessed by love and with his heart fixed on Tapati,
beholding that celestial maiden of sweet smiles led by Vasishtha, became
exceedingly glad. And Tapati of fair eyebrows came down from the firmament
like lightning from the clouds, dazzling the ten points of the heavens.
And the illustrious Rishi Vasishtha of pure soul approached the monarch
after the latter's twelve nights' vow was over. It was thus that king
Samvarana obtained a wife after having worshipped with like the full moon.
And that mighty bowman, that foremost one in Kuru's race having his
curiosity greatly excited by what he heard of Vasishtha's ascetic power,
asked the Gandharva, saying, 'I desire to hear of the Rishi whom thou hast
mentioned as Vasishtha. O, tell me in full about him! O chief of the
Gandharvas, tell me who this illustrious Rishi was that was the priest of
our forefathers.' The Gandharva replied, 'Vasishtha is Brahma's spiritual
(lit, mind-born) son and Arundhati's husband. Ever difficult of being
conquered by the very immortals, Desire and Wrath, conquered by
Vasishtha's ascetic penances, used to shampoo his feet. Though his wrath
was excited by Viswamitra's offence, that high-souled Rishi did not yet
exterminate Kusikas (the tribe whose king Viswamitra was). Afflicted at
the loss of his sons, he did not, as though powerless, though really
otherwise, do any dreadful act destructive of Viswamitra, Like the ocean
transgressing not its continents, Vasishtha transgressed not (the laws of)
Yama by bringing back his children from the domains of the king of the
dead. It was by obtaining that illustrious one who had conquered his own
self that Ikshvaku and other great monarchs acquired the whole earth. And,
O prince of Kuru's race, it was by obtaining Vasishtha, that best of
Rishis as their priest, that those monarchs performed many grand
sacrifices. And, O best of the Pandavas, that regenerate Rishi assisted
these monarchs in the performance of their sacrifices like Vrihaspati
assisting the immortals. Therefore, look ye for some accomplished and
desirable Brahmana conversant with the Vedas and in whose heart virtue
prevails, to appoint as your priest. A Kshatriya of good lineage, desirous
of extending his dominions by conquering the earth, should, O Partha,
first appoint a priest. He who is desirous of conquering the earth should
have a Brahmana before him. Therefore, O Arjuna, let some accomplished and
learned Brahmana, who has his senses under complete control and who is
conversant with religion, profit and pleasure, be your priest.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Hearing this, Arjuna said, 'O Gandharva, whence
arose the hostility between Viswamitra and Vasishtha both of whom dwelt in
a celestial hermitage? O, tell us all about it.'

"The Gandharva replied, 'O Partha, the story of Vasishtha is regarded as a
Purana (legend) in all the three worlds. Listen to me as I recite it fully.
There was, in Kanyakuvja, O bull of Bharata's race, a great king of
worldwide fame named Gadhi, the son of Kusika. The virtuous Gadhi had a
son named Viswamitra, that grinder of foes, possessing a large army and
many animals and vehicles. And Viswamitra, accompanied by his ministers,
used to roam in quest of deer through the deep woods and over picturesque
marascetic penances the propitious lord Vivaswat, by the help of
Vasishtha's (ascetic power). And Samvarana, that bull among men with due
rites took Tapati's hand on that mountain-breast which was resorted to by
the celestials and the Gandharvas. The royal sage, with the permission of
Vasishtha, desired to sport with his wife on that mountain. And the king
caused Vasishtha to be proclaimed his regent in his capital and kingdom,
in the woods and gardens. And bidding farewell unto the monarch, Vasishtha
left him and went away. Samvarana, who sported on that mountain like a
celestial, sported with his wife in the woods and the under-woods on that
mountain for twelve full years. And, O best of the Bharatas, the god of a
thousand eyes poured no rain for twelve years on the capital and on the
kingdom of that monarch. Then, O chastiser of enemies, when that season of
drought broke out, the people of that kingdom, as also the trees and lower
animals began to die fast. And during the continuance of that dreadful
drought, not even a drop of dew fell from the skies and no corn grew. And
the inhabitants in despair, and afflicted with the fear of hunger, left
their homes and fled away in all directions. And the famished people of
the capital and the country began to abandon their wives and children and
grew reckless of one another. The people being afflicted with hunger,
without a morsel of food and reduced to skeletons, the capital looked very
much like the city of the king of the dead, full of only ghostly beings.
On beholding the capital reduced to such a state, the illustrious and
virtuous and best of Rishis, Vasishtha was resolved upon applying a remedy
and brought back unto the city that tiger among kings, Samvarana, along
with his wife, after the latter had passed so long a period in solitude
and seclusion. After the king had entered his capital, things became as
before, for, when that tiger among kings came back to his own, the god of
a thousand eyes, the slayer of Asuras, poured rain in abundance and caused
corn to grow. Revivified by the foremost of virtuous souls the capital and
the country became animated with extreme joy. The monarch, with his wife,
Tapati, once more performed sacrifices for twelve years, like the lord
Indra (god of rain) performing sacrifices with his wife, Sachi.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'This, O Partha, is the history of Tapati of old,
the daughter of Vivaswat. It is for her that thou art (called) Tapatya.
King Samvarana begot upon Tapati a son named Kuru, who was the foremost of
ascetics. Born in the race of Kuru, thou art, O Arjuna, to be called


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'Once on a time, while king Viswamitra went
quest of deer, the king became weak with exertion and thirst. The monarch
arrived in that state at the asylum of Vasishtha, and the blessed and
illustrious Rishi beholding him arrive, reverenced with his homage that
best of men, king Viswamitra. And O Bharata, the Rishi saluted the monarch
by offering him water to wash his face and feet with, and Arghya, and wild
fruits, and clarified butter. For the illustrious Rishi had a cow yielding
anything that was desired of her. When she was addressed, saying, 'O give',
she always yielded the article that was sought. And she yielded various
fruits and corn, wild or grown in gardens and fields, and milk, and many
excellent nutritive viands full of six different kinds of juice (taste?)
and like unto nectar itself, and various other kinds of enjoyable things,
O Arjuna, of ambrosial taste for drinking and eating, and for licking and
sucking, and also many precious gems and robes of various kinds. With
these desirable objects in profusion the monarch was worshipped. And the
king with his minister and troops became highly pleased. And the monarch
wondered much, beholding that cow with six elevated limbs and the
beautiful flanks and hips, and five limbs that were broad, and eyes
prominent like those of the frog and beautiful in size, and high udders,
and faultless make, and straight and uplifted ears, and handsome horns,
and well-developed head and neck.

"And, O prince, the son of Gadhi, gratified with everything and applauding
the cow named Nandini, addressed the Rishi, saying, 'O Brahmana, O great
Muni, give me thy Naridini in exchange for ten thousand kine, or my
kingdom. Enjoy thou my kingdom (giving me thy cow).'

"Hearing these words of Viswamitra, Vasishtha said, 'O sinless one, this
cow hath been kept by me for the sake of the gods, guests, and the Pitris,
as also for my sacrifices. I cannot give Nandini in exchange for even thy
kingdom.' Viswamitra replied, 'I am a Kshatriya, but thou art a Brahmana
devoted to asceticism and study. Is there any energy in Brahmanas who are
peaceful and who have their souls under perfect command? When thou givest
me not what I desire in exchange even for ten thousand cows, I will not
abandon the practice of my order; I will take thy cow even by force!'

"Vasishtha said, 'Thou art a Kshatriya endued with might of arms. Thou art
a powerful monarch. O, do in haste what thou desirest; and stop not to
consider its propriety.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed by Vasishtha, Viswamitra, O
Partha, then forcibly seized Nandini, that cow (white) like the swan or
the moon, and attempted to take her away, afflicting her with stripes and
persecuting her otherwise. The innocent Nandini then began, O Partha, to
low piteously, and approaching the illustrious Vasishtha stood before him
with uplifted face. Though persecuted very cruelly, she refused to leave
the Rishi's asylum.

"Beholding her in that plight, Vasishtha said, 'O amiable one, thou art
lowing repeatedly and I am hearing thy cries. But, O Nandini, even
Viswamitra is taking thee away by force, what can I do in this matter, as
I am a forgiving Brahmana?'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Then, O bull in Bharata's race, Nandini,
alarmed at the sight of Viswamitra's troops and terrified by Viswamitra
himself, approached the Rishi still closer, and said, 'O illustrious one,
why art thou so indifferent to my poor self afflicted with the stripes of
the cruel troops of Viswamitra and crying so piteously as if I were
masterless?' Hearing these words of the crying and persecuted Nandini, the
great Rishi lost not his patience nor turned from his vow of forgiveness.
He replied, 'The Kshatriya's might lies in physical strength, the
Brahmana's in forgiveness. Because I cannot give up forgiveness, go thou,
O Nandini, if thou choosest.' Nandini answered, 'Castest thou me away, O
illustrious one, that thou sayest so? If thou dost not cast me off, I
cannot, O Brahmana, be taken away by force.' Vasishtha said, 'O blessed
one, I do not cast thee off! Stay if thou canst! O, yonder is thy calf,
tied with a stout cord, and even now being weakened by it!'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Then the cow of Vasishtha, hearing the word
stay, raised her head and neck upward, and became terrible to behold. With
eyes red with rage and lowing repeatedly, she then attacked Viswamitra's
troops on all sides. Afflicted with their stripes and running hither and
thither with those red eyes of hers, her wrath increased. Blazing with
rage, she soon became terrible to behold like unto the sun in his midday
glory. And from her tail she began to rain showers of burning coals all
around. And some moments after, from her tail she brought forth an army of
Palhavas, and from her udders, an army of Dravidas and Sakas; and from her
womb, an army of Yavanas, and from her dung, an army of Savaras; and from
her urine, an army of Kanchis; and from her sides, an army of Savaras. And
from the froth of her mouth came out hosts of Paundras and Kiratas,
Yavanas and Sinhalas, and the barbarous tribes of Khasas and Chivukas and
Pulindas and Chinas and Hunas with Keralas, and numerous other Mlechchhas.
And that vast army of Mlechchhas in various uniforms, and armed with
various weapons, as soon as it sprang into life, deploying in the very
sight of Viswamitra, attacked that monarch's soldiers. And so numerous was
that Mlechchha host that each particular soldier of Viswamitra was
attacked by a band of six or seven of their enemies. Assailed with a
mighty shower of weapons, Viswamitra's troops broke and fled, panic-
stricken, in all directions, before his very eyes. But, O bull in
Bharata's race, the troops of Vasishtha, though excited with wrath, took
not the life of any of Viswamitra's troops. Nandini simply caused the
monarch's army to be routed and driven off. And driven (from the asylum)
twenty-seven full miles, panic-stricken, they shrieked aloud and beheld
not anyone that could protect them. Viswamitra, beholding this wonderful
feat that resulted from Brahmana prowess, became disgusted with Kshatriya
prowess and said, 'O, fie on Kshatriya prowess! Brahmana prowess is true
prowess! In judging of strength and weakness, I see that asceticism is
true strength.' Saying this, the monarch, abandoning his large domains and
regal splendour and turning his back upon all pleasures, set his mind on
asceticism. Crowned with success in asceticism and filling the three
worlds with the heat of his ascetic penances, he afflicted all creatures
and finally became a Brahmana. The son of Kusika at last drank Soma with
Indra himself (in Heaven).'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'There was, O Partha, a king in this world,
named Kalmashapada, who was of the race of Ikshvaku and was unequalled on
earth for prowess. One day the king went from his capital into the woods
for purposes of hunting, and this grinder of foes pierced (with his
arrows) many deer and wild boars. And in those deep woods the king also
slew many rhinoceroses. Engaged in sport for some length of time, the
monarch became very much fatigued and at last he gave up the chase,
desiring to rest awhile.

"The great Viswamitra, endued with energy, had, a little while ago,
desired to make that monarch his disciple. As the monarch, afflicted with
hunger and thirst, was proceeding through the woods, he came across that
best of Rishis, the illustrious son of Vasishtha, coming along the same
path. The king ever victorious in battle saw that Muni bearing the name of
Saktri, that illustrious propagator of Vasishtha's race, the eldest of the
high-souled Vasishtha's hundred sons, coming along from opposite direction.
The king, beholding him said, 'Stand out of our way.' The Rishi,
addressing the monarch in a conciliatory manner, said unto him sweetly, 'O
king, this is my way. This is the eternal rule of morality indicated in
every treatise on duty and religion, viz., that a king should ever make
way for Brahmanas.' Thus did they address each other respecting their
right of way. 'Stand aside, stand aside', were the words they said unto
each other. The Rishi, who was in the right, did not yield, nor did the
king yield to him from pride and anger. That best of monarchs, enraged at
the Rishi, refusing to yield him the way, acted like a Rakshasa, striking
him with his whip. Thus whipped by the monarch, that best of Rishis, the
son of Vasishtha, was deprived of his senses by anger, and speedily cursed
that first of monarchs, saying, 'O worst of kings, since thou persecutest
like a Rakshasa an ascetic, thou shalt from this day, became a Rakshasa
subsisting on human flesh! Hence, thou worst of kings! thou shalt wander
over the earth, affecting human form!' Thus did the Rishi Sakti, endued
with great prowess, speak unto king Kalmashapada. At this time Viswamitra,
between whom and Vasishtha there was a dispute about the discipleship of
Kalmashapada, approached the place where that monarch and Vasishtha's son
were. And, O Partha, that Rishi of severe ascetic penances, viz.,
Viswamitra of great energy, approached the pair (knowing by his spiritual
insight that they had been thus quarrelling with each other). After the
curse had been pronounced, that best of monarchs knew that Rishi to be
Vasishtha's son and equal unto Vasishtha himself in energy. And, O Bharata,
Viswamitra, desirous of benefiting himself, remained on that spot,
concealed from the sight of both by making himself invisible. Then that
best of monarchs, thus cursed by Saktri, desiring to propitiate the Rishi
began to humbly beseech him. And, O chief of the Kurus, Viswamitra,
ascertaining the disposition of the king (and fearing that the difference
might be made up), ordered a Rakshasa to enter the body of the king. And a
Rakshasa of the name of Kinkara then entered the monarch's body in
obedience to Saktri's curse and Viswamitra's command. And knowing, O
chastiser of foes, that the Rakshasa had possessed himself of the monarch,
that best of Rishis, Viswamitra, then left the spot and went away.

"Shortly after, O Partha, the monarch, possessed by the Rakshasa and
terribly afflicted by him, lost all his senses. At this time a Brahmana
beheld the king in the woods. Afflicted with hunger, that Brahmana begged
of the king some food with meat. The royal sage, Kalmashapada, that
cherisher of friends, answered the Brahmana, saying, 'Stay thou here, O
Brahmana for a moment. On my return, I will give thee whatever food thou
desirest.' Having said this, the monarch went away, but the Brahmana
stayed on there. The high-minded king having roved for some time at
pleasure and according to his will, at last entered his inner apartment.
Thus waking at midnight and remembering his promise, he summoned his cook
and told him of his promise unto the Brahmana staying in the forest. And
he commanded him, saying, 'Hie thee to that forest. A Brahmana waiteth for
me in the hope of food. Go and entertain him with food and meat.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus commanded, the cook went out in search of
meat. Distressed at not having found any, he informed the king of his
failure. The monarch, however, possessed as he was by the Rakshasa,
repeatedly said, without scruple of any kind, 'Feed him with human flesh.'
The cook, saying, 'So be it,' went to the place where the (king's)
executioners were, and thence taking human flesh and washing and cooking
it duly and covering it with boiled rice offered it unto that hungry
Brahmana devoted to ascetic penances. But that best of Brahmanas, seeing
with his spiritual sight that the food was unholy and, therefore, unworthy
of being eaten, said these words with eyes red with anger, 'Because that
worst of kings offereth me food that is unholy and unworthy of being taken,
therefore that wretch shall have himself a fondness for such food. And
becoming fond of human flesh as cursed by Saktri of old, the wretch shall
wander over the earth, alarming and otherwise troubling all creatures.'
The curse, therefore, on that king, thus repeated a second time, became
very strong, and the king, possessed by a Rakshasa disposition, soon lost
all his senses.

"A little while after, O Bharata, that best of monarchs, deprived of all
his senses by the Rakshasa within him, beholding Saktri who had cursed him,
said, 'Because thou hast pronounced on me this extraordinary curse,
therefore, I shall begin my life of cannibalism by devouring thee.' Having
said this, the king immediately slew Saktri and ate him up, like a tiger
eating the animal it was fond of. Beholding Saktri thus slain and devoured,
Viswamitra repeatedly urged that Rakshasa (who was within the monarch)
against the other sons of Vasishtha. Like a wrathful lion devouring small
animals, that Rakshasa soon devoured the other sons of the illustrious
Vasishtha that were junior to Saktri in age. But Vasishtha, learning that
all his sons had been caused to be slain by Viswamitra, patiently bore his
grief like the great mountain that bears the earth. That best of Munis,
that foremost of intelligent men, was resolved rather to sacrifice his own
life than exterminate (in anger) the race of Kusikas. The illustrious
Rishi threw himself down from the summit of Meru, but he descended on the
stony ground as though on a heap of cotton. And, O son of Pandu, when the
illustrious one found that death did not result from that fall, he kindled
a huge fire in the forest and entered it with alacrity. But that fire,
though burning brightly, consumed him not. O slayer of foes, that blazing
fire seemed to him cool. Then the great Muni under the influence of grief,
beholding the sea, tied a stony weight to his neck and threw himself into
its waters. But the waves soon cast him ashore. At last when that Brahmana
of rigid vows succeeded not in killing himself by any means, he returned,
in distress of heart, to his asylum.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'Beholding his asylum bereft of his children,
the Muni afflicted with great grief left it again. And in course of his
wandering he saw, O Partha, a river swollen with the waters of the rainy
season, sweeping away numberless trees and plants that had grown on its
margin. Beholding this, O thou of Kuru's race, the distressed Muni
thinking that he would certainly be drowned if he fell into the waters of
that river, he tied himself strongly with several cords and flung himself,
under the influence of grief, into the current of that mighty stream. But,
O slayer of foes, that stream soon cut those cords and cast the Rishi
ashore. And the Rishi rose from the bank, freed from the cords with which
he had tied himself. And because his cords were thus broken off by the
violence of the current, the Rishi called the stream by the name of Vipasa
(the cord-breaker). For his grief the Muni could not, from that time, stay
in one place; he began to wander over mountains and along rivers and lakes.
And beholding once again a river named Haimavati (flowing from Himavat) of
terrible aspect and full of fierce crocodiles and other (aquatic) monsters,
the Rishi threw himself into it, but the river mistaking the Brahmana for
a mass of (unquenchable) fire, immediately flew in a hundred different
directions, and hath been known ever since by the name of the Satadru (the
river of a hundred courses). Seeing himself on the dry land even there he
exclaimed, 'O, I cannot die by my own hands!' Saying this, the Rishi once
more bent his steps towards his asylum. Crossing numberless mountains and
countries, as he was about to re-enter his asylum, he was followed by his
daughter-in-law named Adrisyanti. As she neared him, he heard the sound
from behind of a very intelligent recitation of the Vedas with the six
graces of elocution. Hearing that sound, the Rishi asked, 'Who is it that
followeth me?' His daughter-in-law then answered, 'I am Adrisyanti, the
wife of Saktri. I am helpless, though devoted to asceticism.' Hearing her,
Vasishtha said, 'O daughter, whose is this voice that I heard, repeating
the Vedas along with the Angas like unto the voice of Saktri reciting the
Vedas with the Angas?' Adrisyanti answered, 'I bear in my womb a child by
thy son Saktri. He hath been here full twelve years. The voice thou
hearest is that of the Muni, who is reciting the Vedas.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed by her the illustrious Vasishtha
became exceedingly glad. And saying, 'O, there is a child (of my race)!'--
he refrained, O Partha, from self-destruction. The sinless one accompanied
by his daughter-in-law, then returned to his asylum. And the Rishi saw one
day in the solitary woods (the Rakshasa) Kalmashapada. The king, O Bharata,
possessed by fierce Rakshasa, as he saw the Rishi, became filled with
wrath and rose up, desiring to devour him. And Adrisyanti beholding before
her that the Rakshasa of cruel deeds, addressed Vasishtha in these words,
full of anxiety and fear, 'O illustrious one, the cruel Rakshasa, like
unto Death himself armed with (his) fierce club, cometh towards us with a
wooden club in hand! There is none else on earth, except thee, O
illustrious one, and, O foremost of all that are conversant with the Vedas
to restrain him today. Protect me, O illustrious one, from this cruel
wretch of terrible mien. Surely, the Rakshasa cometh hither to devour us!'
Vasishtha, hearing this, said, 'Fear not, O daughter, there is no need of
any fear from any Rakshasa. This one is no Rakshasa from whom thou
apprehendest such imminent danger. This is king Kalmashapada endued with
great energy and celebrated on earth. That terrible man dwelleth in these

"The Gandharva continued, 'Beholding him advancing, the illustrious Rishi
Vasishtha, endued with great energy, restrained him, O Bharata, by
uttering the sound Hum. Sprinkling him again with water sanctified with
incantations the Rishi freed the monarch from that terrible curse. For
twelve years the monarch had been overwhelmed by the energy of Vasishtha's
son like Surya seized by the planet (Rahu) during the season of an eclipse.
Freed from the Rakshasa the monarch illumined that large forest by his
splendour like the sun illumining the evening clouds. Recovering his power
of reason, the king saluted that best of Rishis with joined palms and said,
'O illustrious one, I am the son of Sudasa and thy disciple, O best of
Munis! O, tell me what is thy pleasure and what I am to do.' Vasishtha
replied, saying, 'My desire hath already been accomplished. Return now to
thy kingdom and rule thy subjects. And, O chief of men, never insult
Brahmanas any more.' The monarch replied, 'O illustrious one, I shall
never more insult superior Brahmanas. In obedience to thy command I shall
always worship Brahmanas. But, O best of Brahmanas, I desire to obtain
from thee that by which, O foremost of all that are conversant with the
Vedas, I may be freed from the debt I owe to the race of Ikshvaku! O best
of men, it behoveth thee to grant me, for the perpetuation of Ikshvaku's
race, a desirable son possessing beauty and accomplishments and good

"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed, Vasishtha, that best of
Brahmanas devoted to truth replied unto that mighty bowman of a monarch,
saying, 'I will give you.' After some time, O prince of men, Vasishtha,
accompanied by the monarch, went to the latter's capital known all over
the earth by the name of Ayodhya. The citizens in great joy came out to
receive the sinless and illustrious one, like the dwellers in heaven
coming out to receive their chief. The monarch, accompanied by Vasishtha,
re-entered his auspicious capital after a long time. The citizens of
Ayodhya beheld their king accompanied by his priest, as if he were the
rising sun. The monarch who was superior to everyone in beauty filled by
his splendour the whole town of Ayodhya, like the autumnal moon filling by
his splendour the whole firmament. And the excellent city itself, in
consequence of its streets having been watered and swept, and of the rows
of banners and pendants beautifying it all around, gladdened the monarch's
heart. And, O prince of Kuru's race, the city filled as it was with joyous
and healthy souls, in consequence of his presence, looked gay like
Amaravati with the presence of the chief of the celestials. After the
royal sage had entered his capital, the queen, at the king's command,
approached Vasishtha. The great Rishi, making a covenant with her, united
himself with her according to the high ordinance. And after a little while,
when the queen conceived, that best of Rishis, receiving the reverential
salutations of the king, went back to his asylum. The queen bore the
embryo in her womb for a long time. When she saw that she did not bring
forth anything, she tore open her womb by a piece of stone. It was then
that at the twelfth year (of the conception) was born Asmaka, that bull
amongst men, that royal sage who founded (the city of) Paudanya.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'Then, O Partha, Adrisyanti, who had been
residing in Vasishtha's asylum, brought forth (when the time came) a son
who was the perpetuator of Saktri's race and who was a second Saktri in
everything. O foremost of Bharatas, that best of Munis, the illustrious
Vasishtha himself performed the usual after-birth ceremonies of his
grandson. And, because the Rishi Vasishtha had resolved on self-
destruction but had abstained therefrom as soon as he knew of the
existence of that child, that child, when born, was called Parasara (the
vivifier of the dead). The virtuous Parasara, from the day of his birth,
knew Vasishtha for his father and behaved towards the Muni as such. One
day, O son of Kunti, the child addressed Vasishtha, that first of Brahmana
sages, as father, in the presence of his mother Adrisyanti. Adrisyanti,
hearing the very intelligible sound father sweetly uttered by her son,
addressed him with tearful eyes and said, 'O child, do not address this
thy grandfather as father? Thy father, O son, has been devoured by a
Rakshasa in a different forest. O innocent one, he is not thy father whom
thou regardest so. The revered one is the father of that celebrated father
of thine.' Thus addressed by his mother that best of Rishis of truthful
speech, gave way to sorrow, but soon fired up and resolved to destroy the
whole creation. Then that illustrious and great ascetic Vasishtha, that
foremost of all persons conversant with Brahma, that son of Mitravaruna,
that Rishi acquainted with positive truth, addressed his grandson who had
set his heart upon the destruction of the world. Hear, O Arjuna, the
arguments by which Vasishtha succeeded in driving out that resolution from
his grandson's mind.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Then Vasishtha said, 'There was a celebrated
king of the name of Kritavirya. That bull among the kings of the earth was
the disciple of the Veda-knowing Bhrigus. That king, O child, after
performing the Soma sacrifice, gratified the Brahmanas with great presents
of rice and wealth. After that monarch had ascended to heaven, an occasion
came when his descendants were in want of wealth. And knowing that the
Bhrigus were rich, those princes went unto those best of Brahmanas, in the
guise of beggars. Some amongst the Bhrigus, to protect their wealth,
buried it under earth; and some from fear of the Kshatriyas, began to give
away their wealth unto (other) Brahmanas; while some amongst them duly
gave unto the Kshatriyas whatever they wanted. It happened, however, that
some Kshatriyas, in digging as they pleased at the house of particular
Bhargava, came upon a large treasure. And the treasure was seen by all
those bulls among Kshatriyas who had been there. Enraged at what they
regarded as the deceitful behaviour of the Bhrigus, the Kshatriyas
insulted the Brahmanas, though the latter asked for mercy. And those
mighty bowmen began to slaughter the Bhrigus with their sharp arrows. And
the Kshatriyas wandered over the earth, slaughtering even the embryos that
were in the wombs of the women of the Bhrigu race. And while the Bhrigu
race was thus being exterminated, the women of that tribe fled from fear
to the inaccessible mountains of Himavat. And one amongst these women, of
tapering thighs, desiring to perpetuate her husband's race, held in one of
her thighs an embryo endued with great energy. A certain Brahmana woman,
however, who came to know this fact, went from fear unto the Kshatriyas
and reported the matter unto them. And the Kshatriyas then went to destroy
that embryo. Arrived at the place, they beheld the would-be mother blazing
with inborn energy, and the child that was in her thigh came out tearing
up the thigh and dazzling the eyes of those Kshatriyas like the midday sun.
Thus deprived of their eyes, the Kshatriyas began to wander over those
inaccessible mountains. And distressed at the loss of sight, the princes
were afflicted with woe, and desirous of regaining the use of their eyes
they resolved to seek the protection of that faultless woman. Then those
Kshatriyas, afflicted with sorrow, and from loss of sight like unto a fire
that hath gone out, addressed with anxious hearts that illustrious lady,
saying, 'By thy grace. O lady, we wish to be restored to sight. We shall
then return to our homes all together and abstain for ever from our sinful
practice. O handsome one, it behoveth thee with thy child to show us mercy.
It behoveth thee to favour these kings by granting them their eye-sight.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Vasishtha continued, 'The Brahmana lady, thus addressed by them, said,
'Ye children, I have not robbed you of your eye-sight, nor am I angry with
you. This child, however, of the Bhrigu race hath certainly been angry
with you. There is little doubt, ye children, that ye have been robbed of
your sight by that illustrious child whose wrath hath been kindled at the
remembrance of the slaughter of his race. Ye children, while ye were
destroying even the embryos of the Bhrigu race, this child was held by me
in my thigh for a hundred years! And in order that the prosperity of
Bhrigu's race might be restored, the entire Vedas with their branches came
unto this one even while he was in the womb. It is plain that this scion
of the Bhrigu race, enraged at the slaughter of his fathers, desireth to
slay you! It is by his celestial energy that your eyes have been scorched.
Therefore, ye children, pray ye unto this my excellent child born of my
thigh. Propitiated by your homage he may restore your eye-sight.'

"Vasishtha continued, 'Hearing those words of the Brahmana lady, all these
princes addressed the thigh-born child, saying, 'Be propitious!' And the
child became propitious unto them. And that best of Brahmana Rishis, in
consequence of his having been born after tearing open his mother's thigh,
came to be known throughout the three worlds by the name of Aurva (thigh-
born). And those princes regaining their eye-sight went away. But the Muni
Aurva of the Bhrigu race resolved upon overcoming the whole world. And the
high-souled Rishi set his heart, O child, upon the destruction of every
creature in the world. And that scion of the Bhrigu race, for paying
homage (as he regarded) unto his slaughtered ancestors, devoted himself to
the austerest of penances with the object of destroying the whole world.
And desirous of gratifying his ancestors, the Rishi afflicted by his
severe asceticism the three worlds with the celestials, the Asuras and
human beings. The Pitris, then, learning what the child of their race was
about, all came from their own region unto the Rishi and addressing him

'Aurva, O son, fierce thou hast been in thy asceticism. Thy power hath
been witnessed by us. Be propitious unto the three worlds. O, control thy
wrath. O child, it was not from incapacity that the Bhrigus of souls under
complete control were, all of them, indifferent to their own destruction
at the hands of the murderous Kshatriyas. O child, when we grew weary of
the long periods of life alloted to us, it was then that we desired our
own destruction through the instrumentality of the Kshatriyas. The wealth
that the Bhrigus had placed in their house underground had been placed
only with the object of enraging the Kshatriyas and picking a quarrel with
them. O thou best of Brahmanas, as we were desirous of heaven, of what use
could wealth be to us? The treasurer of heaven (Kuvera) had kept a large
treasure for us. When we found that death could not, by any means,
overtake us all, it was then, O child, that we regarded this as the best
means (of compassing our desire). They who commit suicide never attain to
regions that are blessed. Reflecting upon this, we abstained from self-
destruction. That which, therefore thou desirest to do is not agreeable to
us. Restrain thy mind, therefore, from the sinful act of destroying the
whole world. O child, destroy not the Kshatriyas nor the seven worlds. O,
kill this wrath of thine that staineth thy ascetic energy.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva said, 'Vasishtha after this, continued the narration saying,
'Hearing words of the Pitris, Aurva, O child, replied unto them to this

'Ye Pitris, the vow I have made from anger for the destruction of all the
worlds, must not go in vain. I cannot consent to be one whose anger and
vows are futile. Like fire consuming dry woods, this rage of mine will
certainly consume me if I do not accomplish my vow. The man that
represseth his wrath that hath been excited by (adequate) cause, becometh
incapable of duly compassing the three ends of life (viz., religion,
profit and pleasure). The wrath that kings desirous of subjugating the
whole earth exhibit, is not without its uses. It serveth to restrain the
wicked and to protect the honest. While lying unborn within my mother's
thigh, I heard the doleful cries of my mother and other women of the
Bhrigu race who were then being exterminated by the Kshatriyas. Ye Pitris,
when those wretches of Kshatriyas began to exterminate the Bhrigus
together with unborn children of their race, it was then that wrath filled
my soul. My mother and the other women of our race, each in an advanced
state of pregnancy, and my father, while terribly alarmed, found not in
all the worlds a single protector. Then when the Bhrigu women found not a
single protector, my mother held me in one of her thighs. If there be a
punisher of crimes in the worlds no one in all the worlds would dare
commit a crime; if he findeth not a punisher, the number of sinners
becometh large. The man who having the power to prevent or punish sin doth
not do so knowing that a sin hath been committed, is himself defiled by
that sin. When kings and others, capable of protecting my fathers, protect
them not, postponing that duty preferring the pleasures of life, I have
just cause to be enraged with them. I am the lord of the creation, capable
of punishing its iniquity. I am incapable of obeying your command. Capable
of punishing this crime, if I abstain from so doing, men will once more
have to undergo a similar persecution. The fire of my wrath too that is
ready to consume the worlds, if repressed, will certainly consume by its
own energy my own self. Ye masters, I know that ye ever seek the good of
the worlds: direct me, therefore, as to what may benefit both myself and
the worlds.'

"Vasishtha continued, 'The Pitris replied saying, O, throw this fire that
is born of thy wrath and that desireth to consume the worlds, into the
waters. That will do thee good. The worlds, indeed, are all dependent on
water (as their elementary cause). Every juicy substance containeth water,
indeed the whole universe is made of water. Therefore, O thou best of
Brahmanas, cast thou this fire of thy wrath into the waters. If, therefore,
thou desirest it, O Brahmana, let this fire born of thy wrath abide in the
great ocean, consuming the waters thereof, for it hath been said that the
worlds are made of water. In this way, O thou sinless one, thy word will
be rendered true, and the worlds with the gods will not be destroyed.'

"Vasishtha continued, 'Then, O child, Aurva cast the fire of his wrath
into the abode of Varuna. And that fire which consumeth the waters of the
great ocean, became like unto a large horse's head which persons
conversant with the Vedas call by the name of Vadavamukha. And emitting
itself from that mouth it consumeth the waters of the mighty ocean. Blest
be thou! It behoveth not thee, therefore, to destroy the worlds. O thou
Parasara, who art acquainted with the higher regions, thou foremost of
wise men!'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"The Gandharva continued, 'The Brahmana sage (Parasara) thus addressed by
the illustrious Vasishtha restrained his wrath from destroying the worlds.
But the Rishi Parasara endued with great energy--the son of Saktri--the
foremost of all persons acquainted with the Vedas--performed a grand
Rakshasa sacrifice. And remembering the slaughter of (his father) Saktri,
the great Muni began to consume the Rakshasas, young and old, in the
sacrifice he performed. And Vasishtha did not restrain him from this
slaughter of the Rakshasa, from the determination of not obstructing this
second vow (of his grandson). And in that sacrifice the great Muni
Parasara sat before three blazing fires, himself like unto a fourth fire.
And the son of Saktri, like the Sun just emerging from the clouds,
illuminated the whole firmament by that stainless sacrifice of his into
which large were the libations poured of clarified butter. Then Vasishtha
and the other Rishis regarded that Muni blazing with his own energy as if
he were the second Sun. Then the great Rishi Atri of liberal soul desirous
of ending that sacrifice, an achievement highly difficult for others,--
came to that place. And there also came, O thou slayer of all foes,
Pulastya and Pulaha, and Kratu the performer of many great sacrifices, all
influenced by the desire of saving the Rakshasas. And, O thou bull of the
Bharata race, Pulastya then, seeing that many Rakshasas had already been
slain, told these words unto Parasara that oppressor of all enemies:

'There is no obstruction, I hope, to this sacrifice of thine, O child!
Takest thou any pleasure, O child, in this slaughter of even all those
innocent Rakshasas that know nothing of thy father's death. It behoveth
thee not to destroy any creatures thus. This, O child, is not the
occupation of a Brahmana devoted to asceticism. Peace is the highest
virtue. Therefore, O Parasara, establish thou peace. How hast thou, O
Parasara, being so superior, engaged thyself in such a sinful practice? It
behoveth not thee to transgress against Saktri himself who was well-
acquainted with all rules of morality. It behoveth not thee to extirpate
any creatures. O descendant of Vasishtha's race, that which befell thy
father was brought about by his own curse. It was for his own fault that
Saktri was taken hence unto heaven. O Muni, no Rakshasa was capable of
devouring Saktri; he himself provided for his own death. And, O Parasara,
Viswamitra was only a blind instrument in that matter. Both Saktri and
Kalmashapada, having ascended to heaven are enjoying great happiness. And,
the other sons also of the great Rishi Vasishtha who were younger than
Saktri, are even now enjoying themselves with the celestials. And, O child,
O offspring of Vasishtha's son, thou hast also been, in this sacrifice,
only an instrument in the destruction of these innocent Rakshasas. O,
blest be thou! Abandon this sacrifice of thine. Let it come to an end.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed by Pulastya, as also by the
intelligent Vasishtha, that mighty Muni--the son of Saktri then brought
that sacrifice to an end. And the Rishi cast the fire that he had ignited
for the purpose of the Rakshasas' sacrifice into the deep woods on the
north of the Himavat. And that fire may be seen to this day consuming
Rakshasas and trees and stones in all seasons.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Arjuna asked, 'What for, O Gandharva, did king Kalmashapada command his
queen to go unto that foremost of all persons conversant with the Vedas--
the master Vasishtha? Why also did that illustrious and great Rishi
Vasishtha himself who was acquainted with every rule of morality know a
woman he should not have known? O friend, was this an act of sin on the
part of Vasishtha? It behoveth thee to remove the doubts I entertain and
refer to thee for solution.'

"The Gandharva replied, saying, 'O irrepressible Dhananjaya, listen to me
as I answer the question thou hast asked in respect of Vasishtha and king
Kalmashapada that cherisher of friends. O thou best of the Bharatas, I
have told thee all about the curse of king Kalmashapada by Saktri, the
illustrious son of Vasishtha. Brought under the influence of the curse,
that smiter of all foes--king Kalmashapada--with eyes whirling in anger
went out of his capital accompanied by his wife. And entering with his
wife the solitary woods the king began to wander about. And one day while
the king under the influence of the curse was wandering through that
forest abounding in several kinds of deer and various other animals and
overgrown with numerous large trees and shrubs and creepers and resounding
with terrible cries, he became exceedingly hungry. And the monarch
thereupon began to search for some food. Pinched with hunger, the king at
last saw, in a very solitary part of the woods, a Brahmana and his wife
enjoying each other. Alarmed at beholding the monarch the couple ran away,
their desire ungratified. Pursuing the retreating pair, the king forcibly
seized the Brahmana. Then the Brahmani, beholding her lord seized,
addressed the monarch, saying, 'Listen to what I say, O monarch of
excellent vows! It is known all over the world that thou art born in the
solar race, and that thou art ever vigilant in the practice of morality
and devoted to the service of thy superiors. It behoveth thee not to
commit sin, O thou irrepressible one, deprived though thou hast been of
thy senses by (the Rishi's) curse. My season hath come, and wishful of my
husband's company I was connected with him. I have not been gratified yet.
Be propitious unto us, O thou best of kings! Liberate my husband.' The
monarch, however, without listening to her cries cruelly devoured her
husband like a tiger devouring its desirable prey. Possessed with wrath at
this sight, the tears that that woman shed blazed up like fire and
consumed everything in that place. Afflicted with grief at the calamity
that overtook her lord, the Brahmani in anger cursed the royal sage
Kalmashapada, 'Vile wretch, since thou hast today cruelly devoured under
my very nose my illustrious husband dear unto me, even before my desires
have been gratified, therefore shall thou, O wicked one afflicted by my
curse, meet with instant death when thou goest in for thy wife in season.
And thy wife, O wretch, shall bring forth a son uniting herself with that
Rishi Vasishtha whose children have been devoured by thee. And that child,
O worst of kings, shall be the perpetuator of thy race.' And cursing the
monarch thus, that lady of Angira's house bearing every auspicious mark,
entered the blazing fire in the very sight of the monarch. And, O thou
oppressor of all foes, the illustrious and exalted Vasishtha by his
ascetic power and spiritual insight immediately knew all. And long after
this, when the king became freed from his curse, he approached his wife
Madayanati when her season came. But Madayanati softly sent him away.
Under the influence of passion the monarch had no recollection of that
curse. Hearing, however, the words of his wife, the best of kings became
terribly alarmed. And recollecting the curse he repented bitterly of what
he had done. It was for this reason, O thou best of men, that the monarch
infected with the Brahmani's curse, appointed Vasishtha to beget a son
upon his queen.'"


(Chaitraratha Parva continued)

"Arjuna asked, 'O Gandharva, thou art acquainted with everything. Tell us,
therefore, which Veda-knowing Brahmana is worthy to be appointed as our

"The Gandharva replied, 'There is in these woods a shrine of the name of
Utkochaka. Dhaumya, the younger brother of Devala is engaged there in
ascetic penances. Appoint him, if ye desire, your priest."

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then Arjuna, highly pleased with everything that had
happened, gave unto that Gandharva, his weapon of fire with befitting
ceremonies. And addressing him, the Pandava also said, 'O thou best of
Gandharvas, let the horses thou givest us remain with thee for a time.
When the occasion cometh, we will take them from thee. Blest be thou.'
Then the Gandharva and the Pandavas, respectfully saluting each other,
left the delightful banks of the Bhagirathi and went wheresoever they
desired. Then, O Bharata, the Pandavas going to Utkochaka, the sacred
asylum of Dhaumya installed Dhaumya as their priest. And Dhaumya, the
foremost of all conversant with the Vedas, receiving them with presents of
wild fruits and (edible) roots, consented to become their priest. And the
Pandavas with their mother forming the sixth of the company, having
obtained that Brahmana as their priest regarded their sovereignty and
kingdom as already regained and the daughter of the Panchala king as
already obtained in the Swayamavara. And those bulls of the Bharata race,
having obtained the master Dhaumya as their priest, also regarded
themselves as placed under a powerful protector. And the high-souled
Dhaumya, acquainted with the true meaning of the Vedas and every rule of
morality, becoming the spiritual preceptor of the virtuous Pandavas, made
them his Yajamanas (spiritual disciples). And that Brahmana, beholding
those heroes endued with intelligence and strength and perseverance like
unto the celestials, regarded them as already restored, by virtue of their
own accomplishments to their sovereignty and kingdom. Then those kings of
men, having had benedictions uttered upon them by that Brahmana, resolved
to go, accompanied by him, to the Swayamvara of the Princess of


(Swayamvara Parva)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those tigers among men--those brothers--the five
Pandavas, set out for Panchala to behold that country and Draupadi and the
festivities (in view of her marriage). And those tigers among men--those
oppressors of all enemies--in going along with their mother, saw on the
way numerous Brahmanas proceeding together. And those Brahmanas who were
all Brahmacharis beholding the Pandavas, O king, asked them, 'Where are ye
going to? Whence also are ye come?' And Yudhishthira replied unto them,
saying, 'Ye bulls among Brahmanas, know ye that we are uterine brothers
proceeding together with our mother. We are coming even from Ekachakra.'
The Brahmanas then said, 'Go ye this very day to the abode of Drupada in
the country of the Panchalas. A great Swayamvara takes place there, on
which a large sum of money will be spent. We also are proceeding thither.
Let us all go together. Extraordinary festivities will take place (in
Drupada's abode). The illustrious Yajnasena, otherwise called Drupada, had
a daughter risen from the centre of the sacrificial altar. Of eyes like
lotus-petals and of faultless features endued with youth and intelligence,
she is extremely beautiful. And the slender-waisted Draupadi of every
feature perfectly faultless, and whose body emitteth a fragrance like unto
that of the blue lotus for two full miles around, is the sister of the
strong-armed Dhrishtadyumna gifted with great prowess--the (would-be)
slayer of Drona--who was born with natural mail and sword and bow and
arrows from the blazing fire, himself like unto the second Fire. And that
daughter of Yajnasena will select a husband from among the invited princes.
And we are repairing thither to behold her and the festivities on the
occasion, like unto the festivities of heaven. And to that Swayamvara will
come from various lands kings and princes who are performers of sacrifices
in which the presents to the Brahmanas are large: who are devoted to study,
are holy, illustrious, and of rigid vows; who are young and handsome; and
who are mighty car-warriors and accomplished in arms. Desirous of winning
(the hand of) the maiden those monarchs will all give away much wealth and
kine and food and other articles of enjoyment. And taking all they will
give away and witnessing the Swayamvara, and enjoying the festivities, we
shall go wheresoever we like. And there will also come unto that
Swayamvara, from various countries, actors, and bards singing the
panegyrics of kings, and dancers, and reciters of Puranas, and heralds,
and powerful athletes. And beholding all these sights and taking what will
be given away to illustrious ones, ye will return with us. Ye are all
handsome and like unto the celestials! Beholding you, Krishna may, by
chance, choose some one amongst you superior to the rest. This thy brother
of mighty arms and handsome and endued with beauty also, engaged in
(athletic) encounters, may, by chance, earn great wealth.'

"On hearing these words of the Brahmanas, Yudhishthira replied, 'Ye
Brahmanas, we will all go with you to witness that maiden's Swayamvara--
that excellent jubilee.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Thus addressed by the Brahmanas, the Pandavas, O
Janamejaya, proceeded towards the country of the southern Panchalas ruled
over by the king Drupada. And on their way those heroes beheld the
illustrious Dwaipayana--that Muni of pure soul, and perfectly sinless. And
duly saluting the Rishi and saluted by him, after their conversation was
over, commanded by him they proceeded to Drupada's abode. And those mighty
chariot-fighters proceeded by slow stages staying for some time within
those beautiful woods and by fine lakes that they beheld along their way.
Devoted to study, pure in their practices, amiable, and sweet-speeched,
the Pandavas at last entered the country of the Panchalas. And beholding
the capital, as also the fort, they took up their quarters in the house of
a potter. Adopting the Brahmanical profession, they began to lead an
eleemosynary life. And no men recognised those heroes during their stay in
Drupada's capital.

"Yajnasena always cherished the desire of bestowing his daughter on Kiriti
(Arjuna), the son of Pandu. But he never spoke of it to anybody. And, O
Janamejaya, the king of Panchala thinking of Arjuna caused a very stiff
bow to be made that was incapable of being bent by any except Arjuna.
Causing some machinery to be erected in the sky, the king set up a mark
attached to that machinery. And Drupada said, 'He that will string this
bow and with these well-adorned arrows shoot the mark above the machine
shall obtain my daughter.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'With these words king Drupada proclaimed the
Swayamvara. On hearing of them, O Bharata, the kings of other lands came
to his capital. And there came also many illustrious Rishis desirous of
beholding the Swayamvara. And there came also, O king, Duryodhana and the
Kurus accompanied by Karna. There also came many superior Brahmanas from
every country. And the monarchs who came there were all received with
reverence by the illustrious Drupada. Desirous of beholding the Swayamvara,
the citizens, roaring like the sea, all took their seats on the platforms
that were erected around the amphitheatre. The monarch entered the grand
amphitheatre by the north-eastern gate. And the amphitheatre which itself
had been erected on an auspicious and level plain to the north-east of
Drupada's capital, was surrounded by beautiful mansions. And it was
enclosed on all sides with high walls and a moat with arched doorways here
and there. The vast amphitheatre was also shaded by a canopy of various
colours. And resounding with the notes of thousands of trumpets, it was
scented with black aloes and sprinkled all over with water mixed with
sandal-paste and decorated with garlands of flowers. It was surrounded
with high mansions perfectly white and resembling the cloud-kissing peaks
of Kailasa. The windows of those mansions were covered with net works of
gold; the walls were set with diamonds and precious costly carpets and
cloths. All those mansions adorned with wreaths and garlands of flowers
and rendered fragrant with excellent aloes, were all white and spotless,
like unto the necks of swans. And the fragrance therefrom could be
perceived from the distance of a Yojana (eight miles). And they were each
furnished with a hundred doors wide enough to admit a crowd of persons;
they were adorned with costly beds and carpets, and beautified with
various metals; they resembled the peaks of the Himavat. And in those
seven-storied houses of various sizes dwelt the monarchs invited by
Drupada whose persons were adorned with every ornament and who were
possessed with the desire of excelling one another. And the inhabitants of
the city and the country who had come to behold Krishna and taken their
seats on the excellent platforms erected around, beheld seated within
those mansions those lions among kings who were all endued with the energy
of great souls. And those exalted sovereigns were all adorned with the
fragrant paste of the black aloe. Of great liberality, they were all
devoted to Brahma and they protected their kingdoms against all foes. And
for their own good deeds they were loved by the whole world.

"The Pandavas, too, entering that amphitheatre, sat with the Brahmanas and
beheld the unequalled affluence of the king of the Panchalas. And that
concourse of princes, Brahmanas, and others, looking gay at the
performances of actors and dancers (large presents of every kind of wealth
being constantly made), began to swell day by day. And it lasted, O king,
several days, till on the sixteenth day when it was at its full, the
daughter of Drupada, O thou bull of the Bharata race, having washed
herself clean entered the amphitheatre, richly attired and adorned with
every ornament and bearing in her hand a dish of gold (whereon were the
usual offerings of Arghya) and a garland of flowers. Then the priest of
the lunar race--a holy Brahmana conversant with all mantras--ignited the
sacrificial fire and poured on it with due rites libations of clarified
butter. And gratifying Agni by these libations and making the Brahmanas
utter the auspicious formula of benediction, stopped the musical
instruments that were playing all around. And when that vast amphitheatre,
O monarch, became perfectly still, Dhrishtadyumna possessed of a voice
deep as the sound of the kettledrum or the clouds, taking hold of his
sister's arm, stood in the midst of that concourse, and said, with a voice
loud and deep as the roar of the clouds, these charming words of excellent
import, 'Hear ye assembled kings, this is the bow, that is the mark, and
these are the arrows. Shoot the mark through the orifice of the machine
with these five sharpened arrows. Truly do I say that, possessed of
lineage, beauty of persons, and strength whoever achieveth this great feat
shall obtain today this my sister, Krishna for his wife.' Having thus
spoken unto the assembled monarchs Drupada's son then addressed his sister,
reciting unto her the names and lineages and achievements of those
assembled lords of the earth.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Dhrishtadyumna said, 'Duryodhana, Durvisaha, Durmukha and
Dushpradharshana, Vivinsati, Vikarna, Saha, and Duhsasana; Yuyutsu and
Vayuvega and Bhimavegarava; Ugrayudha, Valaki, Kanakayu, and Virochana,
Sukundala, Chitrasena, Suvarcha, and Kanakadhwaja; Nandaka, and Vahusali,
and Tuhunda, and Vikata; these, O sister, and many other mighty sons of
Dhritarashtra--all heroes--accompanied by Karna, have come for thy hand.
Innumerable other illustrious monarchs all bulls among Kshatriyas--have
also come for thee. Sakuni, Sauvala, Vrisaka, and Vrihadvala,--these sons
of the king Gandhara--have also come. Foremost of all wielders of weapons
--the illustrious Aswatthaman and Bhoja, adorned with every ornament have
also come for thee. Vrihanta, Manimana, Dandadhara, Sahadeva, Jayatsena,
Meghasandhi, Virata with his two sons Sankha and Uttara, Vardhakshemi,
Susarma, Senavindu, Suketu with his two sons Sunama and Suvarcha, Suchitra,
Sukumara, Vrika, Satyadhriti, Suryadhwaja, Rochamana, Nila, Chitrayudha,
Agsuman, Chekitana, the mighty Sreniman, Chandrasena the mighty son of
Samudrasena, Jarasandha, Vidanda, and Danda--the father and son, Paundraka,
Vasudeva, Bhagadatta endued with great energy, Kalinga, Tamralipta, the
king of Pattana, the mighty car-warrior Salya, the king of Madra, with his
son, the heroic Rukmangada, Rukmaratha, Somadatta of the Kuru race with
his three sons, all mighty chariot-fighters and heroes, viz., Bhuri,
Bhurisrava, and Sala, Sudakshina, Kamvoja of the Puru race, Vrihadvala,
Sushena, Sivi, the son of Usinara, Patcharanihanta, the king of Karusha,
Sankarshana (Valadeva), Vasudeva (Krishna) the mighty son of Rukmini,
Samva, Charudeshna, the son of Pradyumna with Gada, Akrura, Satyaki, the
high-souled Uddhava, Kritavarman, the son of Hridika, Prithu, Viprithu,
Viduratha, Kanka, Sanku with Gaveshana, Asavaha, Aniruddha, Samika,
Sarimejaya, the heroic Vatapi Jhilli Pindaraka, the powerful Usinara, all
these of the Vrishni race, Bhagiratha, Vrihatkshatra, Jayadratha the son
of Sindhu, Vrihadratha, Valhika, the mighty charioteer Srutayu, Uluka,
Kaitava, Chitrangada and Suvangada, the highly intelligent Vatsaraja, the
king of Kosala, Sisupala and the powerful Jarasandha, these and many other
great kings--all Kshatriyas celebrated throughout the world--have come, O
blessed one, for thee. Endued with prowess, these will shoot the mark. And
thou shalt choose him for thy husband who amongst these will shoot the


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those youthful princes adorned with ear-rings,
vying with one another and each regarding himself accomplished in arms and
gifted with might, stood up brandishing their weapons. And intoxicated
with pride of beauty, prowess, lineage, knowledge, wealth, and youth, they
were like Himalayan elephants in the season of rut with crowns split from
excess of temporal juice. And beholding each other with jealousy and
influenced by the god of desire, they suddenly rose up from their royal
seats, exclaiming 'Krishna shall be mine.' And the Kshatriyas assembled in
that amphitheatre, each desirous of winning the daughter of Drupada,
looked like the celestial (of old) standing round Uma, the daughter of the
King of mountains. Afflicted with the shafts of the god of the flowery bow
and with hearts utterly lost in the contemplation of Krishna, those
princes descended into the amphitheatre for winning the Panchala maiden
and began to regard even their best friends with jealousy. And there came
also the celestials on their cars, with the Rudras and the Adityas, the
Vasus and the twin Aswins, the Swadhas and all the Marutas, and Kuvera
with Yama walking ahead. And there came also the Daityas and the Suparnas,
the great Nagas and the celestial Rishis, the Guhyakas and the Charanas
and Viswavasu and Narada and Parvata, and the principal Gandharvas with
Apsaras. And Halayudha (Valadeva) and Janardana (Krishna) and the chief of
the Vrishni, Andhaka, and Yadava tribes who obeyed the leadership of
Krishna were also there, viewing the scene. And beholding those elephants
in rut--the five (Pandavas)--attracted towards Draupadi like mighty
elephants towards a lake overgrown with lotuses, or like fire covered with
ashes, Krishna the foremost of Yadu heroes began to reflect. And he said
unto Rama (Valadeva), 'That is Yudhishthira; that is Bhima with Jishnu
(Arjuna); and those are the twin heroes.' And Rama surveying them slowly
cast a glance of satisfaction at Krishna. Biting their nether lips in
wrath, the other heroes there--sons and grandsons of kings--with their
eyes and hearts and thoughts set on Krishna, looked with expanded eyes on
Draupadi alone without noticing the Pandavas. And the sons of Pritha also,
of mighty arms, and the illustrious twin heroes, beholding Draupadi, were
all likewise struck by the shafts of Kama. And crowded with celestial
Rishis and Gandharvas and Suparnas and Nagas and Asuras and Siddhas, and
filled with celestial perfumes and scattered over with celestial flowers,
and resounding with the kettle-drum and the deep hum of infinite voices,
and echoing with the softer music of the flute, the Vina, and the tabor,
the cars of the celestials could scarcely find a passage through the
firmament. Then those princes--Karna, Duryodhana, Salwa, Salya,
Aswatthaman, Kratha, Sunitha, Vakra, the ruler of Kalinga and Banga,
Pandya, Paundra, the ruler of Videha, the chief of the Yavanas, and many
other sons and grandsons of kings,--sovereigns of territories with eyes
like lotus-petals,--one after another began to exhibit prowess for
(winning) that maiden of unrivalled beauty. Adorned with crowns, garlands,
bracelets, and other ornaments, endued with mighty arms, possessed of
prowess and vigour and bursting with strength and energy, those princes
could not, even in imagination, string that bow of extraordinary

"And (some amongst) those kings in exerting with swelling lips each
according to his strength, education, skill, and energy,--to string that
bow, were tossed on the ground and lay perfectly motionless for some time.
Their strength spent and their crowns and garlands loosened from their
persons, they began to pant for breath and their ambition of winning that
fair maiden was cooled. Tossed by that tough bow, and their garlands and
bracelets and other ornaments disordered, they began to utter exclamations
of woe. And that assemblage of monarchs, their hope of obtaining Krishna
gone, looked sad and woeful. And beholding the plight of those monarchs,
Karna that foremost of all wielders of the bow went to where the bow was,
and quickly raising it strung it and placed the arrows on the string. And
beholding the son of Surya--Karna of the Suta tribe--like unto fire, or
Soma, or Surya himself, resolved to shoot the mark, those foremost of
bowmen--the sons of Pandu--regarded the mark as already shot and brought
down upon the ground. But seeing Karna, Draupadi loudly said, 'I will not
select a Suta for my lord.' Then Karna, laughing in vexation and casting
glance at the Sun, threw aside the bow already drawn to a circle.

"Then when all those Kshatriyas gave up the task, the heroic king of the
Chedis--mighty as Yama (Pluto) himself--the illustrious and determined
Sisupala, the son of Damaghosa, in endeavouring to string the bow, himself
fell upon his knees on the ground. Then king Jarasandha endued with great
strength and powers, approaching the bow stood there for some moment,
fixed and motionless like a mountain. Tossed by the bow, he too fell upon
his knees on the ground, and rising up, the monarch left the amphitheatre
for (returning to) his kingdom. Then the great hero Salya, the king of
Madra, endued with great strength, in endeavouring to string the bow fell
upon his knees on the ground. At last when in that assemblage consisting
of highly respectable people, all the monarchs had become subjects of
derisive talk that foremost of heroes--Jishnu, the son of Kunti--desired
to string the bow and placed the arrows on the bow-string.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana continued, 'When all the monarchs had desisted from
stringing that bow, the high-souled Jishnu arose from among the crowd of
Brahmanas seated in that assembly. And beholding Partha possessing the
complexion of Indra's banner, advancing towards the bow, the principal
Brahmanas shaking their deer-skins raised a loud clamour. And while some
were displeased, there were others that were well-pleased. And some there
were, possessed of intelligence and foresight, who addressing one another
said, 'Ye Brahmanas, how can a Brahmana stripling unpractised in arms and
weak in strength, string that bow which such celebrated Kshatriyas as
Salya and others endued with might and accomplished in the science and
practice of arms could not? If he doth not achieve success in this untried
task which he hath undertaken from a spirit of boyish unsteadiness, the
entire body of Brahmanas here will be rendered ridiculous in the eyes of
the assembled monarchs. Therefore, forbid this Brahmana that he may not go
to string the bow which he is even now desirous of doing from vanity,
or mere childish daring.' Others replied, 'We shall not be made
ridiculous, nor shall we incur the disrespect of anybody or the
displeasure of the sovereigns. Some remarked, 'This handsome youth is even
like the trunk of a mighty elephant, whose shoulders and arms and thighs
are so well-built, who in patience looks like the Himavat, whose gait is
even like that of the lion, and whose prowess seems to be like that of an
elephant in rut, and who is so resolute, that it is probable that he will
accomplish this feat. He has strength and resolution. If he had none, he
would never go of his own accord. Besides, there is nothing in the three
worlds that Brahmanas of all mortal men cannot accomplish. Abstaining from
all food or living upon air or eating of fruits, persevering in their vows,
and emaciated and weak, Brahmanas are ever strong in their own energy. One
should never disregard a Brahmana whether his acts be right or wrong, by
supposing him incapable of achieving any task that is great or little, or
that is fraught with bliss or woe. Rama the son of Jamadagni defeated in
battle, all the Kshatriyas. Agastya by his Brahma energy drank off the
fathomless ocean. Therefore, say ye, 'Let this youth bend the bow and
string it with ease' (and many said), 'So be it.' And the Brahmanas
continued speaking unto one another these and other words. Then Arjuna
approached the bow and stood there like a mountain. And walking round that
bow, and bending his head unto that giver of boons--the lord Isana--and
remembering Krishna also, he took it up. And that bow which Rukma, Sunitha,
Vakra, Radha's son, Duryodhana, Salya, and many other kings accomplished
in the science and practice of arms, could not even with great exertion,
string, Arjuna, the son of Indra, that foremost of all persons endued with
energy and like unto the younger brother of Indra (Vishnu) in might,
strung in the twinkling of an eye. And taking up the five arrows he shot
the mark and caused it to fall down on the ground through the hole in the
machine above which it had been placed. Then there arose a loud uproar in
the firmament, and the amphitheatre also resounded with a loud clamour.
And the gods showered celestial flowers on the head of Partha the slayer
of foes. And thousands of Brahmanas began to wave their upper garments in
joy. And all around, the monarchs who had been unsuccessful, uttered
exclamations of grief and despair. And flowers were rained from the skies
all over the amphitheatre. And the musicians struck up in concert. Bards
and heralds began to chant in sweet tones the praises (of the hero who
accomplished the feat). And beholding Arjuna, Drupada--that slayer of foes,--
was filled with joy. And the monarch desired to assist with his forces the
hero if the occasion arose. And when the uproar was at its height,
Yudhishthira, the foremost of all virtuous men, accompanied by those first
of men the twins, hastily left the amphitheatre for returning to his
temporary home. And Krishna beholding the mark shot and beholding Partha
also like unto Indra himself, who had shot the mark, was filled with joy,
and approached the son of Kunti with a white robe and a garland of flowers.
And Arjuna the accomplisher of inconceivable feats, having won Draupadi by
his success in the amphitheatre, was saluted with reverence by all the
Brahmanas. And he soon after left the lists followed close by her who thus
became his wife.'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'When the king (Drupada) expressed his desire of
bestowing his daughter on that Brahmana (who had shot the mark), all those
monarchs who had been invited to the Swayamvara, looking at one another,
were suddenly filled with wrath. And they said, 'Passing us by and
treating the assembled monarchs as straw this Drupada desireth to bestow
his daughter--that first of women,--on a Brahmana! Having planted the tree
he cutteth it down when it is about to bear fruit. The wretch regardeth us
not: therefore let us slay him. He deserveth not our respect nor the
veneration due to age. Owing to such qualities of his, we shall, therefore,
slay this wretch that insulteth all kings, along with his son. Inviting
all the monarchs and entertaining them with excellent food, he
disregardeth us at last. In this assemblage of monarchs like unto a
conclave of the celestials, doth he not see a single monarch equal unto
himself? The Vedic declaration is well-known that the Swayamvara is for
the Kshatriyas. The Brahmanas have no claim in respect of a selection of
husband by a Kshatriya damsel. Or, ye kings, if this damsel desireth not
to select any one of us as her lord, let us cast her into the fire and
return to our kingdoms. As regards this Brahmana, although he hath, from
officiousness or avarice, done this injury to the monarchs, he should not
yet be slain; for our kingdoms, lives, treasures, sons, grandsons, and
whatever other wealth we have, all exist for Brahmanas. Something must be
done here (even unto him), so that from fear of disgrace and the desire of
maintaining what properly belongeth unto each order, other Swayamvaras may
not terminate in this way.'

"Having addressed one another thus, those tigers among monarchs endued
with arms like unto spiked iron maces, took up their weapons and rushed at
Drupada to slay him then and there. And Drupada beholding those monarchs
all at once rushing towards him in anger with bows and arrows, sought,
from fear, the protection of the Brahmanas. But those mighty bowmen (Bhima
and Arjuna) of the Pandavas, capable of chastising all foes, advanced to
oppose those monarchs rushing towards them impetuously like elephants in
the season of rut. Then the monarchs with gloved fingers and upraised
weapons rushed in anger at the Kuru princes, Bhima and Arjuna, to slay
them. Then the mighty Bhima of extraordinary achievements, endued with the
strength of thunder, tore up like an elephant a large tree and divested it
of its leaves. And with that tree, the strong-armed Bhima, the son of
Pritha, that grinder of foes, stood, like unto the mace-bearing king of
the dead (Yama) armed with his fierce mace, near Arjuna that bull amongst
men. And beholding that feat of his brother, Jishnu of extraordinary
intelligence, himself also of inconceivable feats, wondered much. And
equal unto Indra himself in achievements, shaking off all fear he stood
with his bow ready to receive those assailants. And beholding those feats
of both Jishnu and his brother, Damodara (Krishna) of superhuman
intelligence and inconceivable feats, addressing his brother, Halayudha
(Valadeva) of fierce energy, said, 'That hero there, of tread like that of
a mighty lion, who draweth the large bow in his hand four full cubits in
length, is Arjuna! There is no doubt, O Sankarshana, about this, if I am
Vasudeva. That other hero who having speedily torn up the tree hath
suddenly become ready to drive off the monarchs is Vrikodara! For no one
in the world, except Vrikodara, could today perform such a feat in the
field of battle. And that other youth of eyes like unto lotus-petals, of
full four cubits height, of gait like that of a mighty lion, and humble
withal, of fair complexion and prominent and shining nose, who had, a
little before, left the amphitheatre, is Dharma's son (Yudhishthira). The
two other youths, like unto Kartikeya, are, I suspect, the sons of the
twin Aswins. I heard that the sons of Pandu along with their mother Pritha
had all escaped from the conflagration of the house of lac.' Then
Halayudha of complexion like unto that of clouds uncharged with rain,
addressing his younger brother (Krishna), said with great satisfaction, 'O,
I am happy to hear, as I do from sheer good fortune, that our father's
sister Pritha with the foremost of the Kaurava princes have all escaped
(from death)!'"


(Swayamvara Parva continued)

"Vaisampayana said, 'Then those bulls among Brahmanas shaking their deer-
skins and water-pots made of cocoanut-shells exclaimed, 'Fear not, we will
fight the foe!' Arjuna smilingly addressing those Brahmanas exclaiming
thus, said, 'Stand ye aside as spectators (of the fray). Showering hundreds
of arrows furnished with straight points even I shall check, like snakes
with mantras, all those angry monarchs.' Having said this, the mighty
Arjuna taking up the bow he had obtained as dower accompanied by his
brother Bhima stood immovable as a mountain. And beholding those
Kshatriyas who were ever furious in battle with Karna ahead, the heroic
brothers rushed fearlessly at them like two elephants rushing against a
hostile elephant. Then those monarchs eager for the fight fiercely
exclaimed, 'The slaughter in battle of one desiring to fight is
permitted.' And saying this, the monarchs suddenly rushed against the
Brahmanas. And Karna endued with great energy rushed against Jishnu for
fight. And Salya the mighty king of Madra rushed against Bhima like an
elephant rushing against another for the sake of a she-elephant in heat;
while Duryodhana and others engaged with the Brahmanas, skirmished with
them lightly and carelessly. Then the illustrious Arjuna beholding Karna,
the son of Vikartana (Surya), advancing towards him, drew his tough bow
and pieced him with his sharp arrows. And the impetus of those whetted
arrows furnished with fierce energy made Radheya (Karna) faint.
Recovering consciousness Karna attacked Arjuna with greater care than
before. Then Karna and Arjuna, both foremost of victorious warriors,
desirous of vanquishing each other, fought madly on. And such was the
lightness of hand they both displayed that (each enveloped by the other's
shower of arrows) they both became invisible (unto the spectators of their
encounter). 'Behold the strength of my arms.'--'Mark, how I have
counteracted that feat,'--those were the words--intelligible to heroes
alone--in which they addressed each other. And incensed at finding the
strength and energy of Arjuna's arms unequalled on the earth, Karna, the
son of Surya, fought with greater vigour. And parrying all those impetuous
arrows shot at him by Arjuna, Karna sent up a loud shout. And this feat of
his was applauded by all the warriors. Then addressing his antagonist,
Karna said, 'O thou foremost of Brahmanas, I am gratified to observe the
energy of thy arms that knoweth no relaxation in battle and thy weapons
themselves fit for achieving victory. Art thou the embodiment of the
science of weapons, or art thou Rama that best of Brahmanas, or Indra
himself, or Indra's younger brother Vishnu called also Achyuta, who for


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